Home Policy What are Satellite Manure Storage Lagoons?

What are Satellite Manure Storage Lagoons?

Todd Janzen, Attorney at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
Todd Janzen, Attorney at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

A few years ago, concerned citizens raised complaints with their elected officials about the storage of manure in remote ponds, or “lagoons” that were not sited next to existing livestock farms.  The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) for years had regulated confined feeding operations (CFOs), but nowhere on the books were stand-alone manure lagoons regulated.

These structures became regulated in 2011 when the Indiana General Assembly passed a law to prohibit the construction of so-called “satellite manure storage structures” without first obtaining IDEM approval.  State law defines these structures as, “a building, lagoon, pad, pit, pond, or tank” that is designed for the storage of “at least one million (1,000,000) gallons of manure; or at least five thousand (5,000) cubic yards of manure.”  IC § 13-11-2-196.2.

The General Assembly also instructed IDEM to draft regulations for these satellite manure storage structures.  But two years after the law became effective, IDEM has not done this.  As a result, it is unclear under today’s regulations how such satellite manure storage structures should be constructed.  Farmers who want to comply with the regulations can’t—because such regulations don’t exist.  This is one reason why, two years after the statute became effective, IDEM has yet to permit a single satellite manure storage structure in the state of Indiana.

This should change soon, however, as IDEM recently announced it is soliciting public comments so that it can begin its rulemaking for satellite manure storage structures.  If you have comments, you should submit them to IDEM by July 26, 2013.




Todd Janzen grew up on a Kansas farm and now practices law with Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, which has offices in Indianapolis and South Bend.   He also serves as General Counsel to the Indiana Dairy Producers and writes regularly about agricultural law topics on his blog: JanzenAgLaw.com.  This article is provided for informational purposes only. Readers should consult legal counsel for advice applicable to specific circumstances.

Submitted by: Todd J. Janzen, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP