NRCS Practice Standard: Waste Treatment Lagoon (359)

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NRCS Practice Standard: Waste Treatment Lagoon (359)

About the Company:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s primary private lands conservation agency. The NRCS helps producers protect and conserve natural resources on private lands through voluntary conservation programs. Through Practice Standards and technical guides, the NRCS provides information about the conservation, energy resources, and provides personalized advice to individual producers.

The NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance to producers as they implement NRCS Conservation Practice Standards.

Technical guides used in each field office are localized so that they apply specifically to the geographic area for which they are prepared. Thus, while national guidelines have been provided as a framework for each standard, each state has adopted and modified the conservation practice standards to suit their individual landscape.

To find a local NRCS Service center click here.

To find the specific guideline for each state click here.

About the Solution:

Waste Treatment Lagoon (359)

A waste treatment lagoon is an impoundment made by excavation or earth fill to provide storage for biological treatment of animal or other agriculture waste.

Practice Information

The purpose of this practice is to store and biologically treat organic waste, reduce pollution, and protect water quality.

There are three general types of lagoons, anaerobic, naturally aerobic, and mechanically aerated. Anaerobic lagoons require less surface area than naturally aerobic lagoons but may give off offensive odors. In contrast, naturally aerobic lagoons require more surface area but are relatively odor free. While mechanically aerated lagoons are comparable in size to anaerobic lagoons, they do require energy for aeration.

Waste treatment lagoons should be located as near the source of waste as possible but as far from human dwellings as possible. The location should also be where prevailing winds will carry odors away from residences and public areas.

To improve efficiency and reduce sludge buildup, solids should be removed from the waste before it enters the lagoon. A solids trap or separator should be installed between the waste source and the lagoon.

Operation and maintenance requirements will include periodic inspections with prompt repair or replacement of damaged components. The waste will be removed from the lagoon and utilized at locations, times, rates, and volume in accordance with the overall waste management system plan.

Common Associated Practices

Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) Waste Treatment Lagoon (Code 359) ) is commonly applied with other conservation practices such as:

  • Waste Separation Facility (Code 632)
  • Nutrient Management (Code 590)

  • To view the full NRCS standard for Waste Treatment Lagoons please click here.

    Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC United States 1-833-ONE-USDA Visit Company Website

    Solution Type

    • AD Support


    • Others


    • Energy


    • GHG
    • Odor
    • Pathogens
    • Storage

    To view additional information about this vendor, click below.

    Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and Critical Indicators

    Anaerobic Digester Associated Technology:

    NOTE: There are several technology types that are used as part of an integrated manure management system that includes an anaerobic digester and are not applicable to manure management in other cases. The impact of these technologies on the critical indicators are represented as those of an entire anaerobic digester system.


    • Long usable life and can be run reliably
    • Creates energy and generates environmental credits
    • Requires proper preparation of the feedstock
    • Requires other technologies for energy utilization
    • Requires other technologies for digestate handling
    • Proper feeding & system monitoring is required to avoid system downtime
    • Proven technology for odor control, GHG reduction and pathogen reduction

    Newtrient Comments/Opinions:

    Newtrient is using the USDA-NRCS conservation practice standards as tools to assist dairy producers in understanding the standards and how they can be used to address resources concerns.

    To establish a Practice Standard a system or practice must be thoroughly vetted, approved, and standardized by the USDA at the federal and state level. These conservation practices have been developed to address various environmental resource concerns. Newtrient has developed a 9-point scoring process for ranking additives, practices, services, and technologies for the dairy industry. Recognizing the rigorous approval procedure used during the development of the NRCS Practice Standards, many of them score very highly and are worthy of consideration on any dairy where they apply.

    The information provided here is a summary of the selected conservation practices. For up to date and detailed information related to the full Practice Standards, please see the USDA NRCS website, linked above.

    Newtrient 9-Point Scoring Rating

    View the Scoring Page

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