HOM Options exist for disposal of yard waste

Q:I read your "clearing the air" column recently. You've probably covered this issue before, but: Because we should not burn lawn and garden debris in Rochester, what is the proper way to dispose of tree branches and various lawn and garden debris? What are the associated fees, if any?

A:The Answer Man covered this not too long ago in his You Asked column. But fall is the season most of us are disposing of yard waste so the question is timely. Brush and tree-related waste is best disposed of in the Hathaway (Tree Service) Brush Dump located in Salem Township. The dump is on 50th Avenue Northwest off Valleyhigh Drive. Look for the sign. Hathaway charges $20 for a full pickup load of brush and logs and limbs. Less than that the dump operator estimates a price with a $5 minimum.

Leaves and grass clippings can be recycled for free at the Olmsted County compost site on the grounds of the old State Hospital. The compost site is across the road from the Olmsted County Recycling Center, 305 Silver Creek Road N.E. Don't bring sticks or heavy plant materials, but small quantities of herbaceous plant materials such as annual flowers, vegetables and tops of perennials are accepted. The recycling center is also the home of the Household Hazardous Waste Site. Turn in your old lawn and garden chemicals, unneeded household cleaning supplies, paints, stains and varnishes. And, if you need some of those, shop at the site store -- pick up something you need for free.

; Douglas D. Steck, owner of Insul-Seal Home Insulation in Rochester, takes exception to some of my comments on fiberglass and cellulose blown insulation. "It has never been proved that fiberglass is a carcinogen of any kind," he writes. I wrote that it is a "suspected" carcinogen. Without belaboring the issue, in the 1990s the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said that fiberglass is "reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen." More recently it is "unclassified," although bags of fiberglass insulation I looked at last week still carry a caution label: "Possible cancer hazard by inhalation."


He took exception to the amount of settling of the product. I'm sorry I even mentioned it. The insulation is supposed to be installed according to manufacturer's specifications. To obtain an R-value of X, follow the maker's instructions on how many bags of insulation to install to achieve the desired insulating value.

He wrote that manufacturers are required to meet and make what is called "Deep Cold Pack." I admit to not having heard of it before. Nor has a spokesman for the Insulation Contractors Association of America. But, I'm willing to learn.

He stresses the importance of proper insulation -- not covering ventilation ducts, etc. A competent installer should be relied upon by the customer to do the job properly, which is why I advised the writer to shop around. I suggested that the writer find a licensed contractor to do the job -- because licensure means the contractor is insured. However, Steck correctly points out that if the contractor only does insulating, nothing else, he is exempt from state licensing. That means the consumer must check for insurance liability.

He also offered to be a source for insulation or ventilation questions. I accept.

If you have a question or comment, send to About the House, 18 First Ave. S.E., Rochester MN 55904. Or e-mail questions to Jerry Reising at You also may call 285-7739.

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