Illegal burning & dumping

Learn more about Arkansas State laws and the hazards of the burn barrel.

See something, say something confidentiality.

Solid Waste & Illegal Dumps

If you see items such as abandoned vehicles, dead animals, household trash, electronics, or like items discarded in inappropriate locations, please report the location and details.

Air Pollution

What makes the Ozarks beautiful is it’s clean air. If you suspect someone is illegally burning materials, please report the incident. Images may be uploaded as documentation.

Water Pollution

Our crystal clear waters and amazing fishing are crown jewels of the Ozarks. If you spot water pollution, please report it to DEQ. Images may be uploaded as documentation.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste wrongfully disposed of affects our hunting, fishing, and our children’s futures. Please report hazardous waste for proper cleanup. Images may be uploaded as documentation.

Report An Emergency

If you are reporting a spill, leak, or release of petroleum products, hazardous materials, gases, or a geohazard event that requires an immediate emergency response, please call the:

Arkansas Division of Emergency Management

then contact the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment:

E&E Emergency Management

If after hours, please leave a message and your call will be returned.

For a full list of complaint forms visit

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Contacts

E&E Main Switchboard


Toll-Free: 888-233-0326




Non-Coal: 501-682-0805

Coal: 479-646-6611




Yard Waste & Open Burning

Generally, Arkansans may burn yard waste that is collected from the property it is grown on. Residential open burning of yard waste is strongly discouraged but permissible in some areas of Arkansas under specified conditions. Ark. Code Ann § 8-6-1703. Both state and local authorities may limit the practice of the open burning of yard waste. Local authorities, such as city or county officials, can place local restrictions on open burning. Local authorities may also set up a permit procedure that requires residents to get a permit from the county courthouse, city hall, or the fire department before burning yard waste. Additionally, several federal and state agencies can issue burn bans that stop burning because of weather conditions or potential hazards. By law, open burning can be prohibited in a particular area of the state or throughout the entire state when:

  • It becomes a local nuisance.
  • It creates a fire or safety hazard.
  • It pollutes the air and DEQ believes it will create a situation whereby the National Ambient Air Quality Standards could be exceeded in a given area.

Burn Barrels

What is a burn barrel?

Usually, a burn barrel is made of a 55 gallon steel drum, which is used to burn trash.

Open burning has been illegal in Arkansas since 1972, yet it is still a problem in many rural areas of the state. There are several reasons why people still burn their household trash:

  • Many people do not know that open burning is illegal in Arkansas
  • Habit or family tradition passed down through generations
  • More convenient and less expensive than hiring a trash hauler
  • Trash pickup is not available in some areas
  • Lack of knowledge about other disposal options
  • Disregard for the dangers of burning trash

There is one important role in the effort to help stop open burning in Arkansas – YOU! Together we can help protect our selves and our children from the dangers of burning trash and yard debris.

Is burning trash harmful?

Burning trash can be a hazard to your health, the environment and your property. When trash is burned in burn barrels, the fire is not hot enough to destroy the poisonous substances from the debris. Toxic particles can enter the body through the eyes, the mucous membranes in the nose, or through capillaries in the lungs.

who is most at risk?

Children are most affected by the consequences of burning trash! According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there are three major reasons why children are at high risk when exposed to burning trash.

  1. Exposure to toxic substances can affect development and growth. Children are in more danger because their bodies absorb up to six times more particles than adults breathing in the same air.
  2. Children eat and drink proportionately more than adults. They also play outside a lot, which creates more exposure to harmful pollutants.
  3. Children are least able to protect themselves from the dangers.  They have a tendency to explore and possibly expose themselves to more hazardous substances.

What are some related illnesses?

Respritory problems such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis can occur after exposure to burning trash. According to the CDC, asthma is a major illness among children each year. There are almost 5 million children in the U.S. with asthma, and the death rate from asthma increased 78% between 1980-1993.

What if I don't stand near the barrel?

Poisonous substances are released right at ground level, where it is more likely to be breathed in before it dissipates. According to the EPA, only half the health risks come from direct inhalation of smoke. The other half occurs when burned particles and ash are deposited on soils, crops, and gardens. These toxins are ingested when vegetation is consumed.

people have been burning trash for years. why is it a problem now?

The content of household garbage has changed a lot in the past 20 years. For example, products that used to be reusable are now packaged in single use containers. Also, many things that were made from glass, wood, and steel are now made from plastics. When these items are broken or no longer needed, they are discarded in the trash instead of being used over again Most of today’s trash contains harmful toxins and poisons that are released when burned. Burning plastics is the most toxic of all! It is never safe for you to burn plastics at home.

The solution!

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Compost

  • Reducing waste by buying things in bulk. Also avoid products with excessive packaging.
  • Reuse, sell or give away things you no longer need or want.
  • Recycle your aluminum, glass, paper, steel, cardboard and plastic at your local recycling center.
  • Compost kitchen scraps, leaves and other yard waste at home. It’s easy and educational!
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