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Residents asked not to burn tornado debris

Posted: May 2, 2014 - 9:40am

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is asking residents in storm-stricken areas of the state not to burn debris from affected properties because doing so is potentially hazardous to those nearby and can worsen air quality.

“We certainly sympathize with those affected by Sunday night’s tornados and understand that they want to clean up and rebuild as quickly as possible,” ADEQ Director Teresa Marks said. “We’re asking residents to work closely with municipal officials who will be making every effort to ensure storm debris is collected safely.”

Outdoor burning generates particulate matter, a pollutant that Arkansas must limit in order to meet national air-quality standards. Smoke can lead to health problems for people with asthma and other respiratory ailments and cause eye irritation.

“A lot of building materials are made of plastic,” said ADEQ Air Division Chief Mike Bates. “When burned, they can release very toxic fumes that can be corrosive to the lungs.”

Older buildings can also contain asbestos, which can be hazardous when airborne. Burning old pressure-treated wood releases arsenic into the smoke and ash.

Faulkner County officials have asked residents to dispose of debris by placing debris at the road in front of their property for pickup, or using a contractor. Residents opting for roadside pickup must separate debris into six categories: vegetative debris; construction/demolition debris; white goods (appliances, etc); E-goods (televisions, electronics); household hazardous waste (cleaning solutions, automotive chemicals, etc); and normal household garbage. Residents should be careful not to block access to utility meters.

Contractors are responsible for disposal of debris they handle. If a property owner’s debris is moved to the roadside by a contractor, that homeowner may not qualify for financial assistance related to such debris removal. (Residents can learn more at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Pulaski County has posted a map of its storm debris collection sites online at http://www.co.pulaski.ar.us/.

Those in other counties can contact their solid waste management districts to inquire about pickup. A list of those districts can be found on ADEQ’s website at http://www.adeq.state.ar.us/solwaste/regional_boards_sql.asp.

Under state statute, county governments can burn vegetative debris from storms that have been declared disaster areas by state or federal authorities (Arkansas Code Annotated 8-4-316). The burning is limited to no more than four sites per county as designated by the county judge and reported in writing to ADEQ at least three days in advance of the burning. ADEQ’s director can also approve additional sites if the scope of the disaster warrants them.

ADEQ stands ready to assist state and federal authorities with appropriate disposal of the debris from this tragic event.

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Elmer Fudd
3859
Points
Elmer Fudd 05/02/14 - 11:01 am
1
1
Don't you

just love it when Big Brother pokes his nose where it is surely not needed. These poor people are hurting and those trying to justify there existence have to make it worse. Shame on them.

conwaygerl
5621
Points
conwaygerl 05/02/14 - 11:04 am
0
1
Under the guise of air quality

I remember a thick smoke blanketing Conway about a month or so ago from the Camp Robinson burns.

Granted, I realize that people don't have an "inside" to seek shelter from the smoke, but my goodness.

BatmanandRobin
262
Points
BatmanandRobin 05/02/14 - 02:02 pm
1
1
Not burning makes sense

It's just common sense to never burn hazardous materials in your back yard, and besides it's against the law too.

Elmer Fudd
3859
Points
Elmer Fudd 05/02/14 - 03:54 pm
0
1
When

Dark Knight did trees become hazardous?

lachowsj
5258
Points
lachowsj 05/02/14 - 04:52 pm
2
1
1980, I guess

That's when Ronald Reagan said, "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." He also was quoted as saying in opposition to expansion of
Redwood National Park, ""A tree's a tree. How many more do you need to look at?"

Raving Bear
632
Points
Raving Bear 05/03/14 - 06:48 am
1
0
Burning things that release

Burning things that release dangerous chemicals is a bad idea. Everyone down wind is in danger. Even green debris in this heat and dry air can pose a significant wildfire danger if not done right. It would be tragic if a victim trying to clean up their property ended up burning down whats left of another victims possessions.

BatmanandRobin
262
Points
BatmanandRobin 05/03/14 - 07:59 am
1
1
No burning makes sense

Burning household items and building materials is illegal and dangerous. Contractors and homeowners who are burning that stuff instead of having it hauled away should be fined.

357
1865
Points
357 05/03/14 - 09:03 am
1
0
Significant health risk

What the uninformed bumpkins who've already commented don't understand is that in this case 'big brother' is trying to save lives. There is an unfathomable amount of formaldehyde in manufactured goods of construction material and if folks just start burning all that debris (not the trees) it WILL have a significant health risk on those who are downwind. Not downwind as in Oklahoma or Louisiana, downwind as in Greenbrier or Conway or Jacksonville.

Just because people are impatient to get the debris cleaned up does not mean it's okay to propogate a significant health risk to their neighbors.

Elmer Fudd
3859
Points
Elmer Fudd 05/03/14 - 09:53 am
1
1
357

name calling really shows your real colors. Will not lower myself to do that.

BatmanandRobin
262
Points
BatmanandRobin 05/03/14 - 09:50 am
1
0
No burning makes sense.

Well said, 357. And the ash from that burning debris is falling into our lakes and rivers and poisoning the water.

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