Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Burn Barrels Discouraged

Yesterday, the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution supporting the application for a grant to support public education regarding the use of burn barrels. County officials have known for some time that the use of burn barrels by the public is not in the best interest of air quality.
Mark Rust, pollution prevention specialist with MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) states that burn barrels are “perfect dioxin factories". According to Rust, burning one pound of household garbage in a backyard barrel can emit as much dioxin as burning one ton of garbage in a municipal incinerator. The MPCA is educating county commissioners to hopefully have burning barrels eliminated by 2010. Currently backyard burning is illegal in Minnesota, except on farms where regular garbage service is not available. Rust indicated there are about 500,000 rural residents who use burning barrels. The state has allocated $150,000 in grants for incentives for programs to eliminate burn barrels.
When this writer asked county staff, “How much is it going to cost me to not use a burn barrel?” The answer was not entirely clear. There are estimates of $30 - $50 a month for garbage pick up in the rural area. It is dependent on how many pick-ups can be made in one locality i.e. economies of scale. This writer urged county staff to work with township officials to initiate area garbage collection as a way to reduce costs. end


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