Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Report

Revised 2/2013

NEPA, 1200 "N" Street, Suite 400, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509


Copyright (c) 2013 Qi Yuan,Daniel D. Snow and Shannon L. Bartelt‐Hunt


Among the conventional disposal methods for livestock mortalities, on‐farm burial is a preferred method, but the potential water quality impacts of animal carcass burial is not well understood. Typically, on‐farm burial pits are constructed without liners to prevent percolation of leachate into soil and groundwater. To date, no information is available on temporal trends for contaminants in leachate produced from livestock mortality pits. In our study, we examined the concentrations of conventional contaminants (electrical conductivity, COD, TOC, TKN, TP, and solids) as well as some antimicrobials and steroid hormones for a period of 20 months. High concentrations of conventional contaminants were detected in leachate collected from the field burial pits. In addition, 17β‐estradiol and monensin were also observed at maximum concentrations of 20,069 ng/L and 11,980 ng/L, respectively. Estimated mass loading of total steroid hormones and veterinary pharmaceuticals were determined to be 1.84 and 1.01 μg/kg of buried cattle carcass materials.