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Beware of burning: Rules on disposing of solid waste

  • 4/20/2023 12:48:00 PM
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As the weather gradually warms up and spring cleaning begins, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding residents of the open burning regulations.

Today’s waste materials are filled with potentially toxic chemicals that are released to the atmosphere when burned, many of which weren’t around 50 or 60 years ago. Once pollutants are in the air, human health can be negatively impacted and pollutants could affect crops and water sources. 

To minimize potential health and environmental dangers from pollutants released into the air, the best course of action is to follow DNR regulations and county and city ordinances before burning. Residents should also take note of any burn bans in place. Residents can contact their local DNR field office with any additional questions. 

Items that should never be burned include: 

  • Rubber tires
  • Household garbage/recyclables 
  • Materials that could contain asbestos 
  • Asphalt shingles
  • Railroad tires
  • Treated wood
  • Dead animals
  • Construction/demolition debris
  • Petroleum products
  • Plastic
  • Metals
  • Carpet
  • Furniture

There are a few exemptions to open burning rules, including landscape waste that came from the owner’s property, recreational fires, training fires, burning disaster rubbish and residential waste. 

Landscape waste and trees/tree trimmings originating on the property can be burned but cannot be transported to another property to burn. In certain cases, burning cannot occur within one-quarter mile of an inhabitable structure.

More information on open burning can be found at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Air-Quality/Open-Burning.

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