Construction company owner fined $10,000 for illegal dumping and burning

Michael Arends, a resident of Cedar Falls, Iowa, estimates he improperly disposed of 100 tons of C&D waste over the past decade.

C&D debris in piles

Photo from C&DR photo archives

A Cedar Falls, Iowa, resident who operates a construction company has been fined $10,000 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for repeatedly stockpiling and burning debris from various projects.

According to the DNR, Michael Arends “conservatively estimated” that he had improperly disposed of 100 tons of construction and demolition (C&D) waste over the past decade.

Arends tells the Iowa Capital Dispatch that he was unaware of the order and couldn’t comment on the specifics of it. He says his company has periodically hauled waste to his acreage when the ground was too wet to take it to a landfill.

As reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the allegations date back to 2013 when someone first reported to the DNR that Arends was hauling C&D waste from Cedar Falls to his acreage about three miles west of the city and burning it. A DNR officer observed a smoldering pile of debris on the property and issued Arends a notice of violation.

In 2020, a similar complaint was made and a DNR officer found smoldering landscape waste and another unburned pile of landscape waste that also had a pallet, tire and stormwater filter sock in it. The officer issued Arends a letter of noncompliance.

Another complaint was filed in 2021, to which the DNR later found a smoldering waste pile on Arends’ acreage that contained tires, insulation, a window air conditioner, sinks, and metal siding, among other items.

The DNR has given Arends 30 days to dispose of any remaining waste on his property.


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