Division for Air Quality Urges Kentuckians to ‘Learn Before You Burn’

Spring-cleaning season has arrived, and for many Kentuckians that means burning unwanted debris. But before you light that burn pile, the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (DAQ) reminds you to “learn before you burn.” Many people may not realize that burning garbage is illegal in Kentucky and could result in fines of up to $25,000 per day per violation.

“Garbage doesn’t just disappear when it is burned,” said DAQ Director Sean Alteri. “Burning garbage emits dangerous pollutants into the atmosphere that are harmful to public health.” Dioxins, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and heavy metals are just some of the toxic substances found in smoke from backyard burning of garbage, Alteri added. Continue reading “Division for Air Quality Urges Kentuckians to ‘Learn Before You Burn’”

Smoke Management: Prescribed Fires and Air Quality

Throughout history, humans have relied on periodic fires as an effective way to manage land. Today many state agencies and private land managers use fire as a cost-effective means to diversify the ecosystem. These controlled burns, also known as prescribed fires, are planned within predetermined boundaries and conducted by trained individuals when suitable weather conditions occur.  The benefits of controlled burning include:

Open Burning: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

When it comes to managing household waste, all too often, people think that burning their trash is an acceptable means of disposal. But, for Kentucky’s air quality, open burning is a significant source of complaints, emissions, and contributes to adverse health effects.

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Figure 1: Example Burn Barrel

Open burning of waste is a combustion process and therefore emits the typical combustion pollutants of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxides, and oxides of nitrogen. However, because the combustion is not controlled it is often incomplete resulting in the formation of various hazardous air pollutants. Most Kentuckians don’t realize it but open burning is worse than the emissions from a properly permitted and operating full scale municipal waste combustion facility. Continue reading “Open Burning: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility”

Ozone Season Arrives; Open Burning Restricted in Some Counties

Ozone season has officially begun in Kentucky, and for some counties that means taking extra care to learn before you burn. From May through September, open burning in Boone, Boyd, Bullitt, Campbell, Jefferson, Kenton, Lawrence, and Oldham counties is restricted to protect air quality.

Ground level ozone is a summertime pollutant, created when pollutants chemically react in the atmosphere in the presence of heat and sunlight.

“Open burning is a major contributor to ozone pollution during the warmer months of the year,” said John Lyons, director of the Division for Air Quality. “That’s why most open burning is restricted in those counties that have historically exceeded pollution levels permitted by the Clean Air Act.”

From May through September, the open burning Continue reading “Ozone Season Arrives; Open Burning Restricted in Some Counties”

Division for Air Quality Urges Kentuckians to “Learn Before You Burn”

Spring-cleaning season is just around the corner, and for many Kentuckians that means burning unwanted debris.  The Kentucky Division for Air Quality (DAQ) reminds you to learn before you burn.  Illegal burning could result in fines of up to $25,000 per day per violation.

Smoke from open burning is a health problem that affects everyone, but especially children, the elderly, and those with existing ailments like asthma.  Children are particularly sensitive to air pollution from open burning, because their bodies are still developing.  Children also breathe 50 percent more oxygen per pound of body weight than adults do, so their lungs are exposed to more harmful pollutants.

Many people may not realize that burning trash is illegal in Kentucky. “Today’s trash is different than the trash our grandparents used to burn,” said DAQ Director John Lyons.  “Plastics, chemicals, and other synthetic materials are far more common in the things we throw away.  Burning this trash releases high levels of toxic pollutants such as dioxins, sulfur dioxide, lead and mercury.”

State law prohibits the burning of many materials including plastic, tires, cans, coated wire, carpeting and food waste.  In addition, the burning of trailers, buildings, and construction and demolition debris such as Continue reading “Division for Air Quality Urges Kentuckians to “Learn Before You Burn””

Ozone Season Restrictions End; Fire Hazard Season Begins

For many Kentucky counties, September 30 marked the end of ozone season restrictions to open burning that have been in place to protect air quality.  But before lighting up the back yard burn pile, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection reminds you to take precautions to prevent that burn from getting out of hand.  October 1 marks the beginning of the fall Fire Hazard Season.

During Fire Hazard Season, open burning within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland is allowed only during the evening hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.  This is when humidity and wind conditions are less Continue reading “Ozone Season Restrictions End; Fire Hazard Season Begins”