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Agency Working with Affected Communities to Guard
Against Contamination from Sandbags, Appliances and
Hazardous Materials

SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency (ILEPA) today urged Illinois residents
recovering from flooding to be aware of assistance
that’s available to them through state and local
authorities to properly dispose of flood debris.
These practices are necessary because flood debris
can cause harmful health effects and damage the
environment. As flood waters recede and people return
to their homes, knowing how to get rid of
flood-damaged property will help people recover more
quickly and safely.

“Clean water and a clean environment are the key to
safe communities, especially after a flood,” Lisa
Bonnett, Director of the ILEPA said. “Our agency is
committed to working with our local government
partners to ensure that flood victims get the
assistance they need to recover from this ordeal and
that their water supplies remain protected.”

ILEPA has several categories of proper flood debris
disposal. Any questions about which materials can be
landfilled, burned or recycled will be answered
promptly by calling: Landfill waste material
(217-524-3300), open burning waste (217-782-2113),
immediate emergency (800-782-7860), outdoor chemical
contamination (217-782-3637)

Drinking Water Concerns:
Be sure to listen to special announcements about
local boil orders that may be in effect. If a local
advisory is issued, the safest route is to drink
bottled water or juices. If you must use water during
boil order conditions, it must be boiled vigorously
for at least five minutes.

Water used to make ice, brush teeth, or wash dishes
also must be boiled. Private water wells should be
pumped out, allowed to recharge naturally,
disinfected with bleach, and tested before drinking
or cooking.

Your local public health department or the Illinois
Department of Public Health regional office will
provide you with information and assistance in
testing your private well. Should special testing of
water supplies for pesticides or other contaminants
be necessary, immediate action will be taken by the
ILEPA. Community water supplies already routinely
test the potable water supply for a wide variety of
contaminants which include but not limited to
pesticides, volatile organic chemicals, disinfection
by-products, inorganic chemicals and coliform
bacteria.  Should special testing of community water
supplies for other contaminants be necessary,
immediate action will be taken by the ILEPA.


Recycling Flood Waste and Sandbags:
Uncontaminated sand and sandbags can be recycled for
other household and industrial uses, or they can be
used as fill for roads and holes. Common sense should
be used. For example, sand that may have come into
contact with sewage should not be used in children’s
sand boxes. Reuses that do not involve direct ongoing
human contact, such as construction uses involving
foundation backfilling or pipe bedding, are
Sand that is visually contaminated, such as with oil
or fecal matter should be disposed as waste. Visual
inspection of the sand as well as local responder
knowledge can be used to assist in determining if
sand has come into contact with flood waters. When in
doubt, it is generally safer to assume that the sand
has come into contact with flood waters.

Household appliances, also known as “white goods,”
can be recycled by taking them to a local scrap
dealer, who will remove potentially harmful
components. For information on scrap dealers in your
area check the yellow pages or call a local appliance

Tires must be disposed at a registered commercial
processing facility. Units of local government may
accumulate used and waste tires recovered via flood
cleanup. It is important to drain all used tires
collected from the flood of standing water and to
store them in a manner that prevents the further
accumulation of water. Contact the ILEPA at
217-785-8604 for further information and possible
assistance. In addition, other recyclable materials
should be separated and recycled such as glass, metal
debris and plastics.

Electronic waste:
A new law went into effect at the beginning of 2012
that bans most electronics items from landfills. You
will find information on the link
. A list of retailers that take certain electronics
can be found at

Household Hazardous Flood Waste Disposal:
Household hazardous waste (HHW) and other chemical
products should be disposed of properly to avoid
health and pollution risks. HHW should be placed in
plastic bags and left with traditional household
garbage at the curb for normal collection

Sealed Drum and Propane Tank Disposal:
Sealed drums, propane tanks and other pressurized gas
cylinders with unknown contents should not be handled
by untrained persons. Please notify the ILEPA Office
of Emergency Response at 217-782-3637 or Illinois
Emergency Management Agency at 800-782-7860. To
dispose of propane tanks, contact the nearest propane
distributor. Propane tanks have serial numbers that
will allow for identification of tank owners and

Land filling Flood Waste:
You may dispose of the following items in your local
landfill: lumber, trees, branches, brush, sand,
sandbags, plastic sheeting, shingles, insulation,
animal carcasses, grain, animal feed, food, carpet,
furniture, metal debris and machinery.

Appliances cannot be disposed of in landfills,
because components on the appliances that contain
Freon, mercury, PCBs and other hazardous chemical
must first be removed by licensed professionals.
Therefore, household appliances must be recycled
through a local scrap dealer.

Burning Flood Waste:
Tree limbs, brush, natural wood and plant debris can
be burned on site or at a community site under the
supervision of a local government without a permit.
Agricultural waste (bags, cartons, dry bedding,
structural materials and crop residue) can also be
burned on site without a permit.

Burning clean wood, building debris, and lumber does
require a permit from the ILEPA. The Open Burning
Permit Application Form can be faxed to 217-524-5023
and is listed on the agency’s website at:


Units of local government can apply for multiple burn
locations under a single permit application and are
encouraged to do so.

Applicants other than units of government can also
apply for multiple burn locations under a single
permit application if the applicant provides proof
along with the application that the proposed
activities have been coordinated with the unit of
local government and the local Fire Protection

The ILEPA typically issues these permits within 1 - 2
days after receipt of the application; however, upon
request the ILEPA can expedite permits in the event
of an emergency. These permits are typically issued
for a short period (e.g., covering 30 to 90 days)
after which time they expire.

General Conditions for the Open Burning of Disaster
1)      Coordinate the burn with the local Fire
Protection District.
2)      Conduct the burn when the wind is blowing
away from roadways, railroad tracks, airfields, and
populated areas.
3)      Provide on-site supervision of the burn
4)      Burning should occur only from approximately
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to get the best natural smoke
dispersion conditions.

Burning of asbestos-containing materials and tires is
NOT allowed under any circumstances.

Call Floyd McKinney at (217) 782-2113 for additional
information or to request an expedited permit in the
event of an emergency. In the event that Floyd
McKinney is not available, a secondary contact in the
event of an emergency is John Blazis at (217)

Oil leakage from downed power poles:
After storms, electrical transformers on downed power
poles have the potential to leak oil into the
environment. Some transformers still contain
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are
persistent and toxic environmental pollutants. If you
see downed transformers, please alert local officials
who can then contact the appropriate electrical
utility company about disposal or cleanup. If you
observe leaks from a transformer, you may contact an
Illinois EPA Regional office during business hours at or call
Illinois Emergency Management Agency at 800-782-7860
or 217-782-7860.
Since last Thursday, Governor Quinn has surveyed
damage on the ground and from the air and met with
local officials in some of the hardest hit
communities, including Elmhurst, Des Plaines,
Marseilles, Ottawa, River Forest, Bellwood,
Riverside, Moline, Quincy, Bartonville and North
In addition to Ogle and Stark counties, the following
counties have been declared state disaster areas:
Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass,
Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Fulton,
Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo
Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle,
Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry,
Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island,
Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago
and Woodford.
The state disaster declaration makes available a wide
variety of state resources that can help affected
communities respond and recover from flooding. It
came after assessments by emergency officials and the
governor, and begins the process of securing federal
Governor Quinn activated the State Incident Response
Center on Thursday to coordinate the deployment of
state personnel and assets to assist local
governments in the affected areas. The state’s flood
response is coordinated by the Illinois Emergency
Management Agency. For more information, go to


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Current Weather

Galesburg, IL
Temp: 60°F
Wind Chill: 60°F
Humidity: 59%
Speed: 6 mph
Direct.: 170°
Pressure: 30.00 in
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