Update on burning at Lime Springs city dump

By Marcie Klomp

The issue of burning at the city dump was brought up at the November City Council meeting. On Dec. 3, Mayor Barb Robinson gave an update on the information she obtained in the past month.

Russ Theis brought up in November there was some burning being done and there was no supervision. He gave council copies of some regulations regarding open burning by government entities.

Robinson confirmed the regulations were from Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “I took it to our attorney and got some guidance. I got some pictures from the assessors office. Howard County Conservation owns a good portion [of property] to the south.”

The concern with the conservation property is that if the dump is fenced off (one of the options the city is looking at), it would also fence off county property. The DNR regulations state that if there is open burning, the area needs to be fenced off and it has to be supervised.

Robinson said, “When you have a bunch of trees, and we’re burning them . . . it’s a waste. Everyone is looking for mulch and firewood.”

She mentioned another option as bringing in a company to grind everything—trees, branches, leaves, yard waste. “I’ve talked to Decorah, Waukon, Postville, Charles City, Waverly, Calmar and now Cresco is looking into it.” She admitted grinding everything would get a little spendy. She explained one company would come to town twice a year to grind. They have a $1,200 minimum and cost for grinding is $600 per hour.

Robinson is concerned about some tree killers such as Dutch Elm Disease and Emerald Ash Borers and will look into how grinding affects them.

As for now, she commented, “We’re at the point in time of the year where we’re done hauling things for the season. My recommendation at this point is to stop burning.” The pile is smoldering now, but should go out with the snow coming this way.

Public Works Director Casey Sebastian has padlocked the gate for the winter. Anyone needing to dump anything should contact him.

Come spring, the plan may change, or there may be set hours for residents to dispose of their waste.

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