Trash Burning Enforcment Authority
State law pertaining to the open burning of household trash can be found in 324.11522 Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994, as amended (Section 324.11522 - on reverse). This law prohibits the burning of household waste that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals, or hazardous materials. Many larger municipalities have ordinances that would prohibit such activity from occurring and in those cases the local unit of government would enforce as they deem appropriate. In areas of the state where no such ordinance exists, the state law may be used by a local unit of government to address a residential trash burning compliant/issue. Additional information about open burning can be found at www.michigan.gov/openburning.
Section 324.11522 applies to an individual who violates the law by open burning waste from that individual's household. The violation is identified as a state civil infraction. There does not need to be a local ordinance in place for this provision to be enforced at the local level. Enforcement can be done by anyone that has the authority to write a ticket for a state civil infraction. This would be anyone defined as a "peace officer." MCL 750.215 defines a peace officer (legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-750-215)
Act 175 of 1927, specifically section 764.9c(2) (legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl764-9c), also states that "a public servant other than a police officer, who is specially authorized by law or ordinance to issue and serve appearance tickets with respect to a particular class of offenses of less than felony grade, may issue and serve upon a person an appearance ticket if the public servant has reasonable cause to believe that the person has committed an offense."
Local units of government or peace officers may enforce the penalties detailed in Section 324.11522 of Act 451 of 1994;
a) For a first offense within a 3-year period, a warning by the judge or magistrate.
b) For a second offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $75.00.
c) For a third offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $150.00.
d) For a fourth or subsequent offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $300.00.
The DEQ encourages townships, villages, and cities to create an ordinance that specifically addresses outdoor burning. A model ordinance at www.michigan.gov/ open burning.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
State Law, Section 324.11522
Open burning of grass clippings or leaves; open burning of household waste; materials; violation; extension of prohibition to materials not listed in subsection (3); open burning of wooden fruit or vegetable storage bins constructed from untreated lumber; requirements; effect of local ordinance; burning of United States flag.
1) The open burning of grass clippings or leaves is prohibited in any municipality having a population of 7,500 or more, unless specifically authorized by local ordinance, which ordinance shall be reported to the department of natural resources within 30 days of enactment.
2) Subsection (1) does not permit a county or municipality to authorize open burning of grass clippings or leaves by an ordinance that would otherwise be prohibited under part 55 or rules promulgated under that part.
3) Beginning 180 days after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this subsection, a person shall not conduct open burning of household waste that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals, or hazardous materials.
4) Sections 11546 and 11549 do not apply to an individual who violates subsection (3) by open burning of waste from that individual's household. Such an individual is responsible for a state civil infraction and is subject to the following:
a) Fora first offense within a 3-year period, a warning by the judge or magistrate.
b) Fora second offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $75.00.
c) Fora third offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $150.00.
d) For a fourth or subsequent offense within a 3-year period, a civil fine of not more than $300.00.
5) Notwithstanding section 5512, the department shall not promulgate or enforce a rule that extends the prohibition under subsection (3) to materials not listed in subsection (3).
6) This part, part 55, or rules promulgated under this part or part 55 do not prohibit a person from conducting open burning of wooden fruit or vegetable storage bins constructed from untreated lumber if all of the following requirements are met:
a) The burning is conducted for disease or pest control.
b) The burning is not conducted at any of the following locations:
i) Within a priority I area as listed in table 33 or a priority Il area as listed in table 34 of R 336.1310 of the Michigan administrative code.
ii) In a city or village.
iii) Within 1,400 feet outside the boundary of a city or village.
7) Subsections (5) and (6) do not authorize open burning that is prohibited by a local ordinance.
8) A congressionally chartered patriotic organization that disposes of an unserviceable flag of the United States by burning that flag is not subject to regulation or penalty for violating a state law or local ordinance pertaining to open burning of materials or substances.
Michigan Department of Environment Quality
OPEN BURNING REGULATIONS IN MICHIGAN
Notice to those who choose to burn: You are responsible for fire, smoke, or odors created from open burning ... and for damage that results from your fire.
What is Open Burning?
"Open burning" is the burning of unwanted materials such as paper, trees, brush, leaves, grass, and other debris where smoke and other emissions are released directly into the air, During opeñ burning, air pollutants do not pass through a chimney or stack and/or combustion of solid waste is not adequately controlled*
Open burning pollutes the air and poses a forest fire hazard. The air pollution created by open burning can irritate eyes and lungs, obscure visibility, soil nearby surfaces, create annoying odors or pose other nuisance or health threats.
Because Of the problems created by this activity, state and local laws prohibit open burning of many materials, Many people are either unaware of the regulations or unsure about which regulations apply to them. The following information will help identify the problems, regulations, sources of information, and alternatives to open burning.
Statewide Open Burning Laws
In Michigan, open burning is regulated by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994) and associated rules. The act includes: Air Pollution Control - Part 55, Solid Waste Management - Part 115, Forest Fire Prevention - Part 515.
In addition, local units of government, such as city, county, or township boards, often regulate open burning through local laws. Local open burning laws take precedence over state regulations only if they are more restrictive. The most common burning issues are defined below, along with the related regulations.
General Open Burning
Michigan air quality and solid waste regulations prohibit open burning that creates smoke or odor nuisances.
Burn permits may be obtained by using the Burn Permits Management System interactive county map located at:
A burn permit does not allow burning prohibited by other regulations. Burn permits are available from the DNR for the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan counties. In the southern Lower Peninsula, permits may be obtained from the local fire department or local governing body. These permits allow for tree limbs, brush, stumps, evergreen needles, leaves, and grass to be burned in a safe manner. The local DNR Fire Manager must issue a permit for ongoing burns for construction or land clearing, for roadway maintenance, and for performing prescribed burns without a written plan.
Do you have burn permit questions? Contact DNR Forest Resources Division, PO Box 30452, Lansing, Ml 48909, or visit their website at: www.mjchigan.gov/burnpermit. Many communities prohibit open burning of any kind.
BURNING OF HOUSEHOLD TRASH
Public Act 102 of 2012 prohibits trash burning of household waste from a family dwelling with the exception of untreated paper. Trash that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals, or hazardous materials must not be burned as emissions release chemicals which pose a danger to human health and the environment.
Homeowners that choose to burn trash that is not prohibited may do so in an approved container on their property as long as it does not violate any other local or state ordinances or regulations. An approved container is constructed of metal or masonry with a metal covering device with openings no larger than 3/4 inch. Local police and fire officers are authorized to enforce this provision as a state civil infraction of Section 11522 of Act 451 of 1994.
Information regarding household trash and open burning is available on the DEQ webpage: www.michigan.gov/openburning. Many communities prohibit the burning of all household waste, so check with your local governing body ahead of time.
BURNING OF GRASS CLIPPINGS AND LEAVES
Since 1995, solid waste regulations have prohibited the open burning of grass clippings and leaves in Michigan municipalities with a population of 7500 or more. Local governing bodies may enact an ordinance authorizing such open burning provided other regulations are not violated. They must submit a copy of the ordinance to the Michigan DEQ Office of Waste Management and Hazardous Materials, P.O. Box 30241, Lansing, Ml 48909.
Air quality regulations state that open burning of trees, logs, brush and stumps must be conducted further than 1400 feet from the boundary of an incorporated city or village and may not violate other air pollution rules. Local laws may prohibit open burning of this material; check with your local governing body before conducting open burning.
Air quality regulations allow the burning of beekeeping equipment and products for disease control. Open burning of untreated wooden fruit or vegetable crates for the purpose of disease control is allowed, unless prohibited by local laws.
Prescribed burns are used to manage agricultural and natural lands. They are allowed in compliance with Part 515 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994 and must also comply with local ordinances.
BURNING OF BUILDING MATERIALS
DISEASE AND PEST CONTROL: BURNING OF
BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT AND WOOD CRATES
BURNING OF BRUSH AND TREES
BURNING OF BUILDINGS
Air quality and solid waste regulations prohibit open burning of construction and demolition waste. Chemically treated lumber, as well as synthetic and painted building materials, contain high concentrations of hazardous compounds that produce toxic emissions when burned.
Structures that are to be demolished by intentional burning are subject to State and Federal regulations. Michigan air regulations only allow buildings to be intentionally burned for fire department fire suppression training.
Federal law requires the removal of asbestos from any building (residential & non-residential) prior to authorized burning. The NESHAP Asbestos Coordinator must be notified 10 working days prior to the burn. For a notification form and more information, fire officials can visit the Air Quality webpage: www.michigan.gov/air then select the "Compliance" tab on the left.
Guidance information for fire suppression training is at: www.michigan.gov/openburning
Air quality regulations allow the burning of logs, brush, charcoal, and other similar materials for the purpose of food preparation or recreation, unless prohibited by local laws.
An unserviceable US flag may be burned by a congressionally chartered patriotic organization.
Composting yard waste and using leaves and grass clippings for mulch are alternatives to open burning of yard waste.
Composting produces valuable soil fertilizer through the natural process of decomposition. Compost piles are simple to begin and maintain, and take up relatively little space. For more information on composting at home, contact your county Michigan State University Extension Office.
Contact local programs about recycling of plastics, cardboard, paper, metals, etc. in your area. Donate reusable items to charitable organizations, families, or friends. Dispose of unwanted items in a licensed landfill or incinerator instead of open burning.
DEQ AIR QUALITY DIVISION
P.O. BOX 30260
LANSING, Ml 48909-7760 www.michigan.gov/air
For Pollution Emergencies call:
This publication is intended for guidance only and may be impacted by changes in legislation, rules, policies, and procedures adopted after the date of publication. Although this publication makes every effort to teach users how to meet applicable compliance obligations, use of this publication does not constitute the rendering of legal advice. 8/2016