In 2004 we audited the Natural Resources Conservation Board’s processes for monitoring confined feeding operations. We recommended that NRCB rank its compliance and enforcement activities based on environmental risk and manage odour and nuisance complaints more efficiently. Our 2007 follow-up audit concluded that NRCB implemented the odour and nuisance part of the recommendation. We repeated the compliance and enforcement part of the recommendation.

Our 2011 follow-up audit concluded that NRCB still had not fully implemented the recommendation to rank its compliance and enforcement activities based on environmental risk. We also made a new recommendation that NRCB assess whether its current compliance approach is adequate to proactively manage surface water risks. Our 2013 follow-up audit found that NRCB had not fully implemented these two recommendations.

This fourth follow-up audit of NRCB’s monitoring of confined feeding operations (CFOs) and their impact on groundwater and surface water concluded that the two outstanding recommendations have been implemented.

Why this is important to Albertans

Alberta has about 2,000 CFOs. Livestock manure from CFOs can contaminate groundwater and surface water. The Agricultural Operation Practices Act1 and its regulations set out legislative requirements for CFOs to operate in an environmentally sustainable way. NRCB is responsible for monitoring and enforcing CFO operators’ compliance with the Act, to ensure they do not harm the environment.


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