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 Do You Know Your Burning Regulations?
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(a)(1).
• 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 a “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 airfields.
• 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).  


What can’t you burn?

               Construction/Demolition Debris which includes: insulation, siding, plumbing,
paints, electrical wire or coating, varnishes, and any other material used in a
building, renovation, or dismantling a structure.
Commercial Waste - which includes equipment packaging and pallets.
Dead Animals
Garbage/household trash
Material containing Asbestos
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 or fees for burning?
No. Agricultural, domicile and landscape waste may be burned without notifying
the Illinois EPA, paying a fee, obtaining a permit or reporting.
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 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.
Can I bury my waste?
No. That would be considered open dumping.
Can I burn dead animals from my farm?
No open burning will be permitted. Any disposal by burning must be performed
with an incinerator that is in compliance with the Illinois Environmental Protection
Act [415 ILCS 5].

Can I bury dead animals?

Burial shall be on the premises owned or operated by the owner of the dead animal.

   A) Location shall be in an area where runoff will not contaminate water
        supplies or allow leachate to discharge into streams, ponds or lakes.
     i) Dead animals shall not be buried less than 200 feet from a
        stream, private potable water supply well or any other potable
        water supply source, except in accordance with Section 14.2(b) of
        the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
    ii) Dead Animals shall not be buried within the applicable 200 or
        400 foot minimum setback zone of an existing community water
        supply well as established pursuant to Section 14.2 of the Illinois
        Environmental Protection Act.
   B) Dead animals shall not be buried less than 200 feet from any existing
        residence not owned or occupied by the owner of the animal.
   C) No more than a ratio of one pound of dead animals per one square
        foot of surface area shall be buried on an annual basis. No more than
        3,000 pounds of dead animals shall be buried in each site location, and
        the same site shall not be used more frequently than once every two
        years for burial purposes. There shall be no more than three (3) site
        locations within a radius of 120 feet.
Burial depth shall be sufficient to provide at least a six-inch compacted soil
cover over the uppermost part of the carcass. Precautions shall be taken to
minimize soil erosion.
The abdominal cavity of large carcasses shall be punctured to allow escape of
putrefactive gasses.
Lime or other chemical agent shall not be used to prevent decomposition.
Precautions shall be taken at the site of burial necessary to prevent any
disturbance by animal or mechanical means.
Disease and nuisance vectors are to be minimized and controlled.
Final cover or settling shall be limited to a 5% or less slope differential from the
normal gradient of its general surroundings.
Burial site locations shall be available for inspection by Department personnel
during normal working hours.
Violators are subject to penalties and fine from state and local government. Please be advised
that local authorities may have more stringent regulations.
Contact the St. Clair County Health Department at (618) 233-7769 or the Illinois EPA at (618) 346-5120 for more information.