New EPA Guidance on depopulation due to COVID-19

June 11, 2020

EPA issued new guidance on June 9 for producers handling and disposing of animals euthanized due to the severe market disruptions caused by Covid-19. EPA and other federal agencies provide standard guidance on how to safely handle animal mortalities, but the applicable circumstances generally involve animal disease outbreaks or a localized natural disaster.

Many producers typically have plans for large-scale mortalities under such emergencies. But those plans are likely insufficient given the unprecedented numbers of animals involved by state (well into the millions) and the range of species. This has made new and different guidance necessary.

Two features may be particularly helpful. A table summarizing the key characteristics of various carcass disposal methods lays out practical pros and cons. While this information is relatively standard, it gives the reader a solid sense of how EPA views these practices, which can be useful to a producer thinking about various options.


Also available is a Disaster Debris Recovery Tool (DDRT),  an interactive database "that maps recyclers and landfills for the planning, response, and recovery of wastes, including animal carcasses" for 13 Midwest states.  EPA plans to incorporate nationwide data into this system. EPA provides links to a national dataset of such facilities that is less up-to-date than the DDRT, via the I-WASTE tool.