OREGON — With shorter days and cooler temperatures, autumn is now here in Ogle County.
The Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department routinely fields calls and responds to complaints dealing with the open burning of waste at this time of year.
In Illinois, the Environmental Protection Act has addressed this issue since the 1970s. By law in Illinois, only certain types of waste may be openly burned, and even then, only under certain conditions. No matter where you reside in Illinois, the only materials that can be openly burned are landscape waste generated from that property, certain agricultural materials (animal bedding, straw), and domicile waste, which includes cardboard and junk mail, which is generated on that property.
If you live within city limits of a town or village, there may be more restrictions on open burning as well. If you are burning some of the above materials, be sure that you are doing it responsibly. Always monitor the fire, only burn dry materials to avoid a smoky, smoldering fire, and only burn on days when smoke will not create nuisance conditions for your neighbors or create visibility hazards on roadways.
It is illegal to burn furniture, mattresses, tires, Styrofoam, plastic items such as chairs, coolers, or other containers, garbage, batteries and electronics, cabinets, carpet, vinyl siding, roofing shingles, fiberglass, or any type of construction or demolition debris, which includes lumber, OSB, paneling, and decking. Modern materials are mostly synthetic and petroleum based. Most wood debris is either treated, painted, or can contain adhesives. Burning these types of materials releases toxins and carcinogens to the atmosphere and the ash, which is toxic, contaminates the ground where the burn pile is located. It is in violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Ogle County ordinances to burn the above materials. In addition, structures, recreational vehicles, or mobile homes cannot be burned as a method of disposal under any conditions.
If you have further questions regarding proper open burning or would like some alternatives to open burning such as waste-reduction, composting, recycling, or re-use, or would like information regarding open burning permits, please call the OCSWMD at 815-732-4020 or visit oglecounty.org.