Contact: Mary McReynolds, Solid Waste Planner
St. Louis County Solid Waste Department
307 First St. S., Ste. 115, Virginia, MN 55792
Information about the risks of burning garbage
available to the public.
The St. Louis County Solid Waste Department has launched an information campaign focused on reducing the burning of refuse in barrels and home incinerators. The campaign has been funded in part by grants from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota DNR Firewise program. Over the past two summers several billboards were placed around the County to let people know that burning garbage is illegal in St. Louis County.
On November 1, 2006, the Solid Waste Department distributed public information kits to the fire departments within the County’s Solid Waste Management Area. These kits will help get the word out locally about the health, safety and environmental risks of burning items found in our trash.
Chemicals released when papers, inks, or plastics are burned is a primary health concern. They include heavy metals like cadmium, lead and mercury, and other chemicals such as dioxins, that are known to cause a wide variety of health problems.
Burning garbage at home also increases the risk of particulates escaping and causing wildfires. During 2005 wild fires caused by burning debris burned more acreage in Minnesota than fires from other sources. This seriously depletes the budgets of fire departments.
The kit sent to fire departments includes printed information as well as a video presentation. The fire departments are encouraged to show the video at local meetings and events.
For more information about the kits and about the risks of burning garbage, call the St. Louis County Solid Waste Department at 1-800-450-9278.