The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) reminds flood victims that burning household debris is against the law.

“In Louisiana, it is illegal to burn solid waste and any household waste, such as construction and demolition debris, household chemicals and oil, regardless of whether it’s on private property or not,” LDEQ Surveillance Division Administrator Mike Algero said.

“Those materials should be separated by type and set out curbside for proper removal to a permitted landfill by the local waste management contractor.”

The penalty for burning debris such as as carpets, foam insulation, PVC pipe, asphalt shingles, linoleum and most other synthetic materials is no joke. Violators may face fines up to $100,000, ten years imprisonment and hard labor, or both, if the action could endanger human life or health, according to official statement.

Those materials release toxic pollutants including hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, sulfur dioxide, dioxin, carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can have direct problems when breathed in, and can pollute waterways when carried by ash.

LDEQ is encouraging citizens to watch for open burning activity and to protect themselves as well as their families and neighbors by reporting any open burning activity to local law enforcement as well as LDEQ.

If you need to report an open burn of waste tires, household debris, oil or chemical waste, please contact local law enforcement authorities as well as LDEQ at: 1-888-763-5424.

To submit an incident report online, visit http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/apps/forms/irf/forms/.

Reports can be made anonymously, but a phone number is required for a call back if further details are needed. LDEQ urges people to document the exact location, time/date, materials being burned, parties involved and any other details in order to better assist authorities with an investigation.

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