Burial has the greatest number of environmental, public health and safety considerations. Burial sites need to be chosen carefully to prevent groundwater and well water contamination. Adequate cover prevents wild animals, dogs or birds from exhuming the carcasses. Poor coverage of carcasses can spread disease, be unsightly and can attract rodents and flies. Burial requires equipment to lift large animals and dig deep enough holes. Lance the rumen of animals over 100 pounds for easier decomposition.
By law, burial sites must be:
- Located outside of the 100-yr flood plain
- A minimum of 100 feet from waters of the Commonwealth (streams, ponds, wetlands, etc.) (200 feet is recommended)
- Covered with minimum 2 feet of soil within 48 hours
Burial sites should be:
- Located minimum 100 feet from wells & sinkholes (200 feet recommended)
- At least 100 feet from property lines (200 feet recommended)
- Away from public view
Bottom of burial sites should be:
- At least 2 feet above bedrock
- At least 2 feet above seasonal high water table
- At least 2 feet above highly permeable soils
Identify sites on maps or in GPS for future reference. Re-vegetate with grass once the burial site is closed. Farmers are encouraged to seek technical assistance from a local County Conservation District, Extension, or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to help determine the best burial site(s) on the farm.