Frequently Asked Questions
- Permits, Inspections, and Handling Waste
- Open Burning
- Well Water and Septic Tanks
- Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
- Reporting Open Dumping, Other Complaints
Permits, Inspections, and Handling Waste
- Where can I get help if my operation receives
a violation notice?
- If you have questions or need help due to a violation notice, please
contact the Illinois EPA’s Agricultural Advisor at (217) 558-6818.
- Do I need a permit?
Laws Affecting Illinois Agriculture
contains a quick reference guide to permits that may be necessary for
agricultural operations. The reference guide is a project of the National
Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation.
- What can you burn on a farm?
The definition of “agricultural waste”
includes: any refuse, except garbage and dead animals, generated on
a farm or ranch by crop and livestock production practices including
such items as bags, cartons, dry bedding, structural materials and
crop residues but excluding landscape waste. (35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.101)
Agricultural waste may be burned if five criteria are met.
- First, the open burning of agricultural waste is restricted to
the site where the waste is generated. 35 Ill. Admin. Code 237.120
- Second, the open burning of agricultural waste is not permitted
in restricted areas. A restricted area is defined as: the area within
the boundaries of an “municipality” as defined in the
Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 24, par. 1-1-2),
plus a zone extending one mile beyond the boundaries of any such
municipality having a population of 1,000 or more according to the
latest federal census.(35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.101
- Third, the open burning of agricultural waste is also prohibited
if it creates a visibility hazard on roadways, railroad tracks or
- Fourth, Open burning must be more than 1,000 feet from residential
or other populated areas.
- Finally, the owner or operator must affirmatively demonstrate
that no economically reasonable alternative method of disposal is
available. 35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.120(a)(6).
- Can I burn my old unused barn?
- No, the agricultural exemption on open burning is limited to structural
materials not whole buildings.
- Are there permits, fees, notifications or
reporting requirements for burning?
- No. Agricultural, domicile, and landscape waste, may be burned without
notifying the Illinois EPA, paying a fee, obtaining a permit or reporting.
However, landscape waste that is also a trade waste may only be burned
with the aid of an air curtain destructor (ACD). As discussed above,
if the owner or operator is using an ACD, they must obtain a permit(s)
from the Illinois EPA.
- Who are the people, offices, and agencies involved in regulating open
- As discussed above, the Illinois EPA regulates open burning, and
local governments, including towns and counties may also regulate this
type of activity.
- Where is the first place a person should call with questions concerning
- If you have any questions concerning open burning please contact
the Illinois EPA’s Agricultural Advisor at (217) 558-6818.
- Which agency has the final authority on regulating open burning?
- Illinois EPA, or, if a county or local government that has more stringent
regulations, that jurisdiction would.
- What are the most frequently reported open burning violations, as
well as the fines and penalties associated with these violations?
- The burning of non-agricultural waste materials including tires, dead
animals and asphalt roofing materials or siding are the most frequently
reported open burning violations. Fines vary according vary according
to the severity of the offense and the suing jurisdiction.
- What can be burned outside an incorporated area?
- As discussed above, landscape waste may be burned both in and outside
of incorporated areas. Domestic and agricultural waste may be burned
outside of incorporated areas, so long as the other requirements are
met. However, local areas may adopt more stringent open burning prohibitions
that regulate different types of waste in unincorporated areas. These
more stringent restrictions must also be complied with. Please see “What
Can You Burn on a Farm?” above for further information.
- When may tires be burned?
- Under Illinois law, tires may never be burned, except at a permitted
incinerator. Illinois is recognized nationally as a leader in the management
of used and waste tires. Disposal of used and waste tires is regulated
by the IEPA's Used Tire Program.
- When may construction/demolition debris be burned?
- Pursuant to Section 9(c) of the Act, construction/demolition debris
is a trade waste and may not be disposed of through open burning. Trade
waste must be disposed of by taking it to an incinerator or landfill
that is permitted to accept this type of waste.
- How can smoke be minimized from open burning?
- To burn with reduced smoke, the fire must be hot. Dry fuel, high temperatures,
and plenty of oxygen help reduce the amount of smoke generated during
burning. The recommended elapsed time between cutting and burning should
be 3 to 6 weeks for vegetative material smaller than 6 inches in diameter
and 6 weeks for vegetative material greater than 6 inches in diameter.
Stumps greater than 12 inches in diameter should be split and dried
for at least 6 weeks prior to burning. We recommend using an air curtain
- What are the alternatives to open burning?
- Consider the following alternatives to the open burning of agricultural
or landscape waste: chipping, shredding, mulching and composting waste.
Composting waste and using leaves and grass clippings for mulch are
alternatives. Composting agricultural waste produces soil fertilizer
through decomposition. Compost piles are simple to begin and maintain.
Branches and trunks larger than 3 inches can be used for firewood.
Well Water and Septic Tanks
- How do I test and protect my private drinking well?
- Answers to well water protection and testing questions can be found
at The USEPA's
Private Drinking Water Wells FAQ page.
- Where can I find out about septic tanks?
- The Illinois Department of Public Health produces a number of fact
sheets about private sewage systems. U.S. EPA’s Homeowner’s
Guide to Septic Systems provides information about septic system
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
- Where can I find more information about Leaking Underground
- Frequently Asked Questions
about leaking underground storage tanks can be found xxxx
Reporting Open Dumping and Other Complaints
- How do I report open dumping?
- Citizens can report open dumping complaints by completing the online
Pollution Complaint Form.
- How and where are alleged violations reported?
- Alleged violations may be reported to the Illinois EPA’s field
offices, the State’s Attorney Office, and the Pollution Control
Board (citizen complaint), as well as local town and county officials.