News & Events

Farms Required to Report Air Releases from Animal Waste

On April 11, 2017, the Federal Court struck down the 2008 EPA Rule exempting most farms from reporting releases of hazardous air pollutants under CERCLA and EPCRA.  The rule exempted farms which had fewer animals than large concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).  The Federal Court granted a stay of the reporting requirements until it issues its final order which is expected to happen on January 22, 2018.

So what happens on January 22, 2018?

Beginning January 22, 2018, farm owner/operators will be required to comply with CERCLA §103 reporting requirements for air release of hazardous substances from animal waste at their farms.  The releases apply primarily for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, if the farm releases air emission equal to or greater than a Reportable Quantity (RQ) within any 24-hour period.  Both ammonia and hydrogen sulfide have a reportable quantity of 100 lbs. within any 24-hour period.

The following are conservative number of animals which would require reporting:

Dairy Operations (any combination)

  • Anaerobic Lagoon
  • 100 lactating cows producing 110 lbs./milk/day – (0.9 lbs. ammonia per cow)
  • EPA has created estimates for the following that must be added to the milk producing cows
    • Dry cows
    • Calves
    • Heifers

Beef Operations (any combination)

  • 2,000 cattle – (0.05 lbs. ammonia per cattle)(based upon pasture raised with minimum manure management)
  • 250 cattle (0.44 lbs. ammonia per cattle (based upon confinement and anaerobic lagoon)

Poultry Operations (any combination)

  • 21,000 Broilers 62 day old broilers on built up litter
  • 50,000 Broilers 52-day old broilers on new bedding
  • 28,000 Laying Hens – high rise houses
  • 344,000 Laying Hens – daily manure removal
  • 162,000 Laying Hens – with 3 to 4 day manure removal

Swine Operations (any combination)

  • Shallow pit
    • 1000 Breeding swine
    • 625 Farrowing swine
    • 5,260 Nursery piglets
    • 1818 Grow-finishing swine
  • Deep pit
    • 1925 Breeding swine
    • 4545 Farrowing swine
    • 21,700 Nursery piglets
    • 2700 Grow-finishing swine

*The above are worse case estimates; EPA has developed complex formulas for each animal to be used in calculating emissions.
What should you do?

If you believe that you’re farming operation, will exceed 100 lbs. of air emissions for ammonia or hydrogen sulfide, then you are required to notify the National Response Center.  Normally this is done by phone call to 1-800-424-8802.  However, due to the estimated numbers of farms to be impacted, EPA has established an email process at (   You will need to provide the name of the farm, location of the farm (city/town and state) and the names of the hazardous substances released (ammonia and/or hydrogen sulfide). Each farm is required to submit notification, so if you have multiply locations then you can list each farm on the email.

You will receive an automatic response email from the NRC with an identification number (CR-0ERNS) for your farm(s).  Once you receive the identification number you will then be required to submit to the EPA Regional Office a written notification of the “initial continuous release.”  After submitting the initial notification, you will be required within 30-days of the one year anniversary to submit a second report verifying that the and/or updating the information initially submitted for each hazardous substance released.  When you have completed the one year verification, you will not be required to submit any additional reports unless there is a significant increase in the number of animals maintained on the farm or there is a change in the waste handling system.

If you should have any question or need assistance in preparing your notification, please contact Michael Caples at or at 601-985-4412.

Michael Caples

Michael D. Caples