Waste and Disposal Issues

This section concentrates on issues pertaining to household and construction waste, open dumps, used tires and oil, pesticide containers, disposal of dead animals, and septic tanks.

Burn Barrels/Open Burning (Ag Waste Burning, Sec. 237.101)

Backyard burning has been a common trash disposal method in parts of Illinois for years. Reasons for burning trash have changed over time, and so have the hazards. In the past, burning may have been the only option for many, but now there are safer alternatives available.

Illegal Dumping

Abandoned piles of garbage and other refuse, known as open dumps, pose a risk to public health and safety and the environment. This web page provides information about reporting illegal dumping and protecting your property against illegal dumping.

Used Tires

The mission of the Illinois EPA’s Used Tire Program is to ensure the proper management of used tires in Illinois to protect human health and the environment and to promote legitimate markets for used tires. Those markets include: 1) tire-derived fuel; 2) civil engineering applications using tire-derived aggregate; and 3) ground (“crumb”) rubber for use in molded rubber products, recreational applications, and rubber-modified asphalt. If managed improperly, used tires pose a threat to human health and the environment by 1) providing a breeding habitat for disease-carrying mosquitoes and 2) presenting a fire threat that can contaminate air, land and water and adversely affect human health through various means of exposure to the contaminants resulting from a fire. To this end, the Illinois EPA regulates the used tire industry and conducts or forces used and waste tire removal actions at sites that are determined to pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Used Oil

Used oil must be properly disposed or recycled. Used oil should not be used for weed or dust control or burned on bush piles. Improper use or disposal of used oil can contaminate wells, streams and lakes. Fact sheets are available that provide information on the proper management of used oil:

Empty Pesticide Containers

The Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Agrichemical Container Recycling Program offers permanent and single-day container collection sites. The container recycling schedule, listing of permanent collection sites and information about preparing pesticide containers for recycling is available at the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s web site.

Dead Animal Disposal Act

The Illinois Department of Agriculture enforces regulations concerning animal welfare. Animal welfare officials also respond to complaints concerning a variety of animal issues, including the improper disposal of dead animals. The Department of Agriculture’s web site contains additional information about the Dead Animal Disposal Act.

Private Sewage Systems/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 maintenance.

Composting

State laws and environmental regulations governing Composting in Illinois apply based on the waste type, the source of the waste and the location of the compost facility. Different regulations and State laws apply to organic waste composting, landscape waste composting, livestock waste and livestock mortality composting and sewage sludge composting in Illinois.

Generally, if off-site generated organic wastes will be received for composting, a permit from Illinois EPA is required. An exception from permit is made for landscape waste composted and used on an agricultural crop farm that can meet certain setback, operating and location restrictions. Livestock waste generated on the farm may be composted and the finished compost applied to farmland under normal agricultural practices without a permit from the Illinois EPA. The livestock waste handling facility must meet the set back distances in Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Section 35 of the Livestock Management Facilities Act and Section 501.402 of the Illinois EPA’s, Subtitle E, Agricultural Related Pollution regulations. Composting animal mortalities on the farm is subject to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s regulations under the Dead Animal Disposal Act. Sewage sludge composting is regulated under Illinois EPA water pollution control regulations and is subject to permit.

Asbestos

The Illinois EPA Asbestos Unit is dedicated to protect the people of the State of Illinois and the environment from asbestos exposure. Illinois EPA is delegated authority by the USEPA to enforce the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). NESHAP regulates asbestos during demolition, renovation and disposal.

Household Hazardous Waste

The Illinois EPA coordinates one-day household hazardous waste collections each year in the spring and fall. The Illinois EPA seeks and encourages communities or organizations to cosponsor household hazardous collection events. Collections are scheduled on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the greatest convenience of working families. Citizens are asked to bring harsh chemical cleaners, paints, thinners, antifreeze, weed killers, insecticides and pesticides, and similar hazardous household products. Explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, agricultural chemicals and business wastes are not accepted. View a complete list of household hazardous wastes that are and are not accepted at one-day collections.

Compostable Waste Collections

Compostable waste collections can be conducted under local approval without having to obtain a waste permit from the Illinois EPA, as long as certain requirements are followed. Collections can be operated as either one-day collection events or as permanent drop-off locations. Individuals or organizations wishing to host a compostable waste collection must obtain approval in writing from their local municipality, or their county in unincorporated areas, and must conduct the collection in accordance with Sec. 22.55 of the Environmental Protection Act (415 ILCS 5/22.55) and any conditions imposed by the approving county or municipality.