Guidelines for Disposal of Cull Potatoes

These guidelines are designed to reduce the risk of contamination of land and water resources which may result from the improper disposal practices. 

The permanent discarding or temporary storage of cull potatoes on the surface of the ground may constitute an environmental and/or public health hazard.  

The burial of cull potatoes may result in the degradation of the quality of groundwater and surface water resources. 

What are cull potatoes?

Any combination of waste material, including soil, rock, potato waste (including sprouts) or other substances, where the potato waste content exceeds 10 % by volume is considered to be cull potatoes under these guidelines. These guidelines apply to the practice of land spreading or burial of cull potatoes.

What legislation applies to these guidelines?

The following guidelines for the disposal of cull or unmarketable potato products are made under the authority of Section 3 of the Prince Edward Island Environmental Protection Act.

What is the deadline to dispose of cull potatoes?

All potatoes must be disposed of or covered by June 15th

Can potato waste be buried in abandoned or operating excavation pits?

No.  Potato waste is organic and being that all excavation pits have exposed bedrock in them, which creates an easy access to the groundwater table, the organic waste can contaminate it.  For that reason, the burial or storage of organic waste in an abandoned or active excavation pit is a violation of the Excavation Pit Regulations.

What disposal options are environmentally acceptable?

The following disposal options are presented in order of environmental acceptability, from best practice to acceptable practice.

  1. Use of cull potatoes as livestock feed is considered an acceptable option for disposal. After June 15th a feeding permit is required. A feeding permit can be obtained by contacting the Department of Agriculture and Land at 368-5087 or 368-4880. Processing of potatoes into any type of value added product would also be considered ideal.
  2. Composting of cull potatoes is an environmentally acceptable method of disposal. The location of composting facilities must follow similar guidelines to those outlined for the burial of potatoes and must have written approval of the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change.
  3. The spreading of cull potatoes on frozen land during the winter is permitted under the following conditions:
    1. All potatoes must be spread evenly on an eligible field to ensure freezing. Potatoes must not under any circumstances be dumped in piles.
    2. Areas subject to application of potatoes must be at least 500 feet away from any dwelling occupied by persons other than the person owning and/or disposing of the potatoes. Spreading shall not be permitted within 50 feet of the edge of a public highway.
    3. Sections of farm fields subject to application must be at least 120 feet from any watercourse where slopes average 2 to 5 percent, and 350 feet where slopes average 5 to 10 percent. Potatoes shall not be spread on slopes greater than 10 percent.
    4. Maximum application rates shall be not more than 10 tonnes/acre.
  4.  The burial of cull potatoes is permitted only under the following conditions:
    1. The burial site shall be located at least 150 m (500 ft) from any surface water body, and at least 300 m (1000 ft) from any well or water supply.  All sites within 1000 feet of a well will require prior inspection and written approval by the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change.
    2. The establishment of large scale burial sites (total accumulated tonnage greater than 250 tonnes) must have the prior approval of the Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change.
    3. Burial shall not occur within two feet of the bedrock surface or the water table. Prior to the excavation of a burial pit, a test hole shall be dug to determine the depth to bedrock and depth to the water table.

For more information, contact:

PEI Department of Agriculture and Land 
5th Floor Jones Building
Charlottetown
(902) 368-4880

Department of Agriculture and Land
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change    

Published date: 
September 17, 2018
Agriculture and Land

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Department of Agriculture and Land
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11 Kent Street,
P.O. Box 2000,
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-4880
Fax: 902-368-4857

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