City officials enact zero tolerance policy for burning garbage

Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center offers places to properly dispose items illegal to burn.

Any residents in Ottumwa caught burning garbage will see a hefty fine.

The Ottumwa Fire Department is enacting a zero tolerance policy to anyone who burns anything other than legal yard waste. Legal yard waste that can be burned includes tree limbs, leaves and grass.

Fire Chief Tony Miller says residents burning anything illegally will be fined $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $750 for a third offense with an additional $85 court cost put on the tab of each citation.

â??We've had people burning anything from motor oil to tires, people burning wires and we've really been pretty lenient over the last few years about that, and it's kind of at a point now we get more and more people burning illegal stuff,â?? Chief Miller said. â??We're gonna have a zero tolerance policy on that, so if we go out to a house or a business that's burning something illegally we will write them a citation.â??

Chief Miller says yard waste can always be disposed at no charge to the Ottumwa/Wapello County Landfill and the recycling center as an alternative to burning. The Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center accepts grass and yard clippings only. Leaves and yard debris for trash pick-up must be disposed in the approved Ottumwa/Wapello brown paper yard waste bags.