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City plans to ban leaf, grass burning

Leaves and grass would no longer be allowed to be burned in the city under a proposed ordinance amendment that will go before the Waupaca Common Council.

It is one of two major changes being proposed for Waupaca’s burning ordinance.

The other proposal would ban outdoor solid fuel-fired heating devices.

The amendments to the ordinance were on first reading when the council met in August and will be on the council’s consent agenda when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The amended ordinance will be on the consent agenda, because it received a unanimous recommendation to the council from the city’s Plan Commission.

This means that unless a member of the council asks for the item to be removed from the consent agenda, there will be no discussion on the proposed amendments before the council votes on it.

John Edlebeck, who is the city’s director of public works, said the proposed ban of outdoor solid fuel-fired heating devices began out of staff concerns.

He said the smoke produced from these devices stays at lower level.

Any such devices that were installed prior to Oct. 1, when the ordinance takes effect, would be grandfathered.

“We’re passing regulations so more aren’t installed,” Edlebeck said.

The ban on burning leaves and grass is being proposed because the city provides a pick up of leaves. In addition, residents may take leaves to the recycling center.

Edlebeck said the leaves that are dropped off at the recycling center become compost, which is sold at the center.

The leaves that are picked up by the city are incorporated into farm fields, he said.

Edlebeck said that when leaves and grass are burned, there is incomplete combustion. Nutrients released into the air can drop into lakes, causing pollution.

The city’s burning ordinance also does not allow for the use or maintenance of burn barrels or incinerators in the city.

“It’s always been illegal to burn rubbish and garbage,” Edlebeck said. “With burn barrels gone, I think it will aid with the compliance of that.”

With the exception of recreational fires, burning permits will continue to be required for the burning of confidential papers or of clean wood.

Those permits may be obtained from the city’s police department at a cost of $5 and are good for a two-week period.

Edlebeck said enforcement of this municipal code will be by the police department.

The proposed ordinance amendments are scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1, he said.

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