Animal Waste Storage Facility (Chapter 16)


Washington County is blessed with over 800 farms and nearly 130,000 acres of land in production.  According to the 2017 Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics, livestock were prevalent in the county with 43,000 cattle and calves and 15,200 milk cows (87 herds). While valuable as sources of fertilizer for crop production, this manure can greatly harm water quality and aquatic life if improperly managed.

Water quality suffers in several ways. Animal waste contains high concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen. When poor management results surface runoff, it creates conditions favorable for the excessive growth of weeds, plankton and algae. Natural decomposition of these weeds and the animal wastes itself consumes large amounts of dissolved oxygen, thus making it difficult for fish and other aquatic life to survive. Bacteria, such as fecal coliform, and ammonia (a toxic form of nitrogen) are also associated with in raw waste. Both are harmful, and in extreme cases fatal, to animals and humans. Groundwater can also suffer when liquids from improperly stored manure leaches into groundwater supplies. High levels of bacteria and nitrates can end up in drinking water supplies and cause human health problems.

Chapter 16 Ordinance

The Animal Waste Storage Facility Code became effective January 1, 1991 and requires that the storage of animal waste in storage facilities meet technical design and construction standards. This is an effort to ensure proper management of animal waste storage facilities and prevent any type of pollution risk to the ground and surface water of Washington County.

Animal Waste Storage Facility Ordinance (pdf)
2018 - Permit Application Form (pdf)