Dispose of Medical Sharps Safely

Air Quality

Air is the most basic and essential need we have as humans.

Poor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause shortness of breath, aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions, and affect the heart and cardiovascular system. Breathing polluted air for long periods of time can cause more serious problems.

Burning

Mold

Radon

Smoking Enforcement

Do You Know Your Burning Regulations?

What can you burn on a farm?
The definition of “agricultural waste” includes: any refuse, except garbage and dead animals, generated on a farm or ranch by crop and livestock production practices including such items as bags, cartons, dry bedding, structural materials and crop residues but excluding landscape waste (35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.101).

Agricultural waste may be burned if five criteria are met:

  1. The open burning of agricultural waste is restricted to the site where the waste is generated.  35 Ill.    Admin. Code 237.120(a)(1).
  2. The open burning of agricultural waste is not permitted in restricted areas.  A restricted area is defined as the area within the boundaries of a “municipality” as defined in  the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 24, par.1-1-2), plus a zone extending  one mile beyond the boundaries of any such municipality having a population of 1,000 or more  according to the latest federal census. (35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.101).
  3. The open burning of agricultural waste is also prohibited if it creates a visibility hazard on roadways, railroad tracks or airfields.
  4. Open burning must be more than 1,000 feet from residential or other populated areas. 
  5. The owner or operator must affirmatively demonstrate that no economically reasonable alternative method of disposal is available.  35 Ill. Adm. Code 237.120 (a)(6).   

 

What can’t you burn?

  • Construction/Demolition Debris which includes: insulation, siding, plumbing, paints, electrical wire or coating, varnishes, and any other material used in a building, renovation, or dismantling a structure.
  • Commercial Waste/Trade Waste – which includes equipment packaging and pallets.
  • Dead Animals
  • Garbage/household trash
  • Material containing Asbestos
  • Tires

FAQs:

Can I burn my old unused barn?
No, the agricultural exemption on open burning is limited to structural materials, not whole buildings.

Are there permits or fees for burning?
No. Agricultural, domicile and landscape waste may be burned without notifying the Illinois EPA, paying a fee, obtaining a permit or reporting.

What are the alternatives to open burning?
Consider the following alternatives to the open burning of agricultural or landscape waste: chipping, shredding, mulching and composting waste. Composting waste produces soil fertilizer through decomposition. Compost piles are simple to begin and maintain. Branches and trunks larger than 3 inches can be used for firewood.

Can I burn the landscape waste from my Tree Trimming business?
No. Landscape waste brought back from another job location is considered trade waste and cannot be burned.

Can I bury my waste?
No. That would be considered open dumping.

Can I burn dead animals from my farm?
No open burning will be permitted. Any disposal by burning must be performed with an incinerator that is in compliance with the Illinois Environmental Protection Act [415 ILCS 5].

Can I bury dead animals?
Burial shall be on the premises owned or operated by the owner of the dead animal.

  • Location shall be in an area where runoff will not contaminate water supplies or allow leachate to discharge into streams, ponds or lakes.
        • Dead animals shall not be buried less than 200 feet from a stream, private potable water supply well or any other potable water supply source, except in accordance with Section 14.2(b) of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
        • Dead Animals shall not be buried within the applicable 200 or 400 foot minimum setback zone of an existing community water supply well as established pursuant to Section 14.2 of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
  • Dead animals shall not be buried less than 200 feet from any existing residence not owned or occupied by the owner of the animal.
  • No more than a ratio of one pound of dead animals per one square foot of surface area shall be buried on an annual basis. No more than 3,000 pounds of dead animals shall be buried in each site location, and the same site shall not be used more frequently than once every two years for burial purposes. There shall be no more than three (3) site locations within a radius of 120 feet.
  • Burial depth shall be sufficient to provide at least a six-inch compacted soil cover over the uppermost part of the carcass. Precautions shall be taken to minimize soil erosion.
  • The abdominal cavity of large carcasses shall be punctured to allow escape of putrefactive gasses.
  • Lime or other chemical agent shall not be used to prevent decomposition.
  • Precautions shall be taken at the site of burial necessary to prevent any disturbance by animal or mechanical means.
  • Disease and nuisance vectors are to be minimized and controlled.
  • Final cover or settling shall be limited to a 5% or less slope differential from the normal gradient of its general surroundings.

Burial site locations shall be available for inspection by Department personnel during normal working hours.

Violators are subject to penalties and fine from state and local government. Please be advised that local authorities may have more stringent regulations.

Contact the St. Clair County Health Department at (618) 233-7769 or the Illinois EPA at (618) 346-5120 for more information.

Mold

Outdoors, mold plays a vital role in breaking down dead organic matter.  Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores which float though the air.  The mold spores are invisible to the eye.  It is impossible to get rid of all mold spores indoors; however, mold will not grow without the presence of water.  If mold does begin to grow indoors, it is because it has found a water source.  Molds produce allergens, irritants, and sometimes potentially toxic substances.  Allergic responses may include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.  Mold can also cause asthma attacks.  Because mold spores are everywhere, there are currently no federal or state limits set for mold/mold spores.  In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary.  The water source must be located and addressed.

CDC Mold Facts

IDPH Mold Facts

EPA Indoor Air Quality Facts

Radon

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. It is a Class A human carcinogen, which means there is actual evidence that exposure to radon causes lung cancer in humans.

Testing is the only way to determine the radon level and risk in your home. Radon testing is easy and inexpensive. Radon detectors are available at hardware stores or by calling the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety for a list of licensed laboratories that sell detectors.

Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, Radon Information Line: (800) 325-1245

**Your St. Clair County Health Department Environmental protection division can ONLY provide information in regard to testing and mitigation in the home. St. Clair County Health Department is not a provider for test kits, testing labs or mitigation professionals. All information provided is supplied by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Division of Nuclear Safety.

IEMA Radon Facts

Smoking Enforcement

The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, including offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities.

Illinois has taken this important step to protect its residents, workers and visitors from the harmful and hazardous effects of secondhand smoke. (Effective January 1, 2008)

Understanding the Smoke-free Illinois Act

As of January 1, 2008, indoor public places and places of employment in Illinois will be smoke-free. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, private clubs and gaming facilities.

The Smoke-free Illinois Act

The Smoke-free Illinois Act protects the public from the harmful effects of exposure to tobacco smoke by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment and within 15 feet of any entrance, exit, windows that open, or ventilation intake of a public place or place of employment. Public places and places of employment include, but are not limited to, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, private clubs and gaming facilities. Smoking also is prohibited in public conveyances, such as taxis, buses, shuttles, and any vehicle owned, leased or operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state. The act also includes requirements for signage and describes how to lodge a complaint, the enforcement process and how fines will be determined for violations. Local ordinances may have additional regulations on where smoking is prohibited. To learn more about whether additional regulations apply, contact your local health department.

**TO FILE A COMPLAINT ABOUT AN ESTABLISHMENT IN ST. CLAIR COUNTY PLEAST CONTACT THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DIVISION AT (618) 233-7769**

Proprietor requirements
Beginning January 1, 2008, business owners shall:

  • Not permit smoking at their business, or within 15 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes.
  • Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance to the place of employment or public place where smoking is prohibited. “No Smoking” signs must comply with the specification in the Smoke-free Illinois Act.
  • Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited.

There is no requirement for an employer to provide an outdoor shelter for smokers. As part of the workplace, private offices also must be smoke-free since smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace.  Additionally, employers may designate additional areas in the workplace as smoke-free.

Exemptions to the Smoke-free Illinois Act

  • Retail tobacco stores in operation prior to January 1, 2008 that derive more than 80 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of loose tobacco, plants, or herbs and cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories are exempt. Retail tobacco store that begins operation after January 1, 2008 may only qualify for an exemption if located in a freestanding structure occupied solely by the business and smoke from the business does not migrate into an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. A tobacco department or section of a larger commercial establishment or an establishment with any type of liquor, food, or restaurant license is not considered a retail tobacco store and must comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act. Annually, by January 31, the retail tobacco store shall provide an affidavit to the Illinois Department of Public Health stating the percentage of its gross income that was derived from the sale of tobacco products, as described above.
  • Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt under the Smoke-free Illinois Act. These facilities, however, must comply with statutes and administrative rules under which the facility is licensed and the fire protection and life safety codes included in those rules.
  • Hotel and motel sleeping rooms rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms are exempt from the act, provided that all smoking rooms on the same floor must be contiguous and smoke from these rooms must not infiltrate into nonsmoking rooms or other areas where smoking is no less than 75 percent of the sleeping quarters within a hotel, motel, resort, inn, lodge, bed and breakfast or other similar public accommodation rented to guests prohibited. Not more than 25 percent of the rooms designated for use to guests in a hotel or motel may be designated as rooms where smoking is allowed. The status of rooms as smoking or nonsmoking may not be changed, except to permanently add additional nonsmoking rooms.

Requirement to post signs
“No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it, must be clearly and conspicuously posted in each public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited.

Proprietor responsibilities
The purpose of the Smoke-free Illinois Act is to protect others from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. An employee or a member of the public can file a complaint against an individual or business that violates the law.

Failure to comply
If the business owner fails to comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act, an employee or patron may file a complaint The Illinois Department of Public Health, state-certified local public health departments and local law enforcement agencies are designated enforcement agencies under the Smoke-free Illinois Act.

Businesses found in violation of the Smoke-free Illinois Act are subject to fines. Fines are assessed at $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and a $2,500 minimum fine for all subsequent violations within one year of the first violation.

Fines for individuals who violate the Smoke-free Illinois Act are not less than $100 and not more than $250.

Business owner requirements
Beginning January 1, 2008, business owners shall:

  • Not permit smoking at their business or within 15 feet of entrances, exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes. 
  • Post “No Smoking” signs at each entrance to the place of employment or public place where smoking is prohibited. “No Smoking” signs must comply with the specification in the Smoke-free Illinois Act. 
  • Remove ashtrays from areas where smoking is prohibited. 

There is no requirement for an employer to provide an outdoor shelter for smokers. As part of the workplace, private offices also must be smoke-free since smoking is prohibited throughout the workplace.  Additionally, employers may designate additional areas in the workplace as smoke-free. 

The benefits of removing secondhand smoke:

  • Protect workers from dangerous chemicals found in secondhand smoke
  • Lower maintenance expenses (carpet and drape cleaning, paintwork)
  • Lower insurance premiums (fire, medical, workers compensation, liability)
  • Lower labor costs (absenteeism, productivity)

Workplaces where smoking is prohibited
The Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces unless specifically exempted.  A “public place” includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • hospitals
  • restaurants
  • bars
  • taverns
  • retail stores
  • offices
  • elevators
  • indoor theatres
  • libraries
  • museums
  • concert halls
  • educational facilities
  • auditoriums
  • enclosed or partially enclosed sports arenas
  • meeting rooms
  • schools
  • exhibition halls
  • convention facilities
  • polling places
  • private clubs
  • gaming facilities
  • dormitories
  • health care facilities or clinics
  • enclosed shopping centers
  • retail service establishments
  • financial institutions
  • educational facilities
  • ticket areas
  • public hearing facilities
  • restrooms
  • waiting areas
  • lobbies
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • reception areas
  • churches
  • public conveyances
  • government owned vehicles and facilities, including buildings and vehicles owned, leased or operated by the state or state subcontract

 

 

Exemptions to the Smoke-free Illinois Act

  • Retail tobacco stores in operation prior to January 1, 2008 that derive more than 80 percent of their gross revenue from the sale of loose tobacco, plants, or herbs and cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories are exempt. Retail tobacco store that begins operation after January 1, 2008 may only qualify for an exemption if located in a freestanding structure occupied solely by the business and smoke from the business does not migrate into an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. A tobacco department or section of a larger commercial establishment or an establishment with any type of liquor, food, or restaurant license is not considered a retail tobacco store and must comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act. Annually, by January 31, the retail tobacco store shall provide an affidavit to the Illinois Department of Public Health stating the percentage of its gross income that was derived from the sale of tobacco products, as described above.
  • Private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are exempt under the Smoke-free Illinois Act. These facilities, however, must comply with statutes and administrative rules under which the facility is licensed and the fire protection and life safety codes included in those rules.
  • Hotel and motel sleeping rooms rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms are exempt from the act, provided that all smoking rooms on the same floor must be contiguous and smoke from these rooms must not infiltrate into nonsmoking rooms or other areas where smoking is no less than 75 percent of the sleeping quarters within a hotel, motel, resort, inn, lodge, bed and breakfast or other similar public accommodation rented to guests prohibited. Not more than 25 percent of the rooms designated for use to guests in a hotel or motel may be designated as rooms where smoking is allowed. The status of rooms as smoking or nonsmoking may not be changed, except to permanently add additional nonsmoking rooms.

 

Requirement to post signs
“No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol, consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it, must be clearly and conspicuously posted in each public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited.

Proprietor responsibilities
The purpose of the Smoke-free Illinois Act is to protect others from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. An employee or a member of the public can file a complaint against an individual or business that violates the law.

Failure to comply
If the business owner fails to comply with the Smoke-free Illinois Act, an employee or patron may file a complaint The Illinois Department of Public Health, state-certified local public health departments and local law enforcement agencies are designated enforcement agencies under the Smoke-free Illinois Act.

Businesses found in violation of the Smoke-free Illinois Act are subject to fines. Fines are assessed at $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and a $2,500 minimum fine for all subsequent violations within one year of the first violation.

Fines for individuals who violate the Smoke-free Illinois Act are not less than $100 and not more than $250.

HELPFUL RESOURCES AND SIGNS FOR ESTABLISHMENTS

Employees and patrons who want to quit smoking
If you smoke and want to quit, or know someone who wants to quit, call the Illinois Tobacco Quit Line toll-free at 866-QUIT-YES (866-784-8937), which is operated by the American Lung Association in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health. This free telephone service provides smokers and people who want to help them quit with information and advice about how to quit successfully.

The Smoke-free Illinois website( http://www.smoke-free.illinois.gov/ ) is designed to provide a variety of informational resources. Please visit the Smoke-Free Illinois website to become more informed about the Smoke-free Illinois law, to access information about secondhand smoke or to seek assistance to quit smoking.

To lodge a complaint about an establishment in St. Clair County, please contact the Environmental Health Division at (618) 233-7769.

Links & Resources

Illinois Tobacco Quitline
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
U.S. Surgeon General’s Reports
Be Tobacco Free.Gov