Kane County: Don't Accept Asphalt Grindings Without Knowing Consequences

Kane County: Don’t Accept Asphalt Grindings Without Knowing Consequences

Kane County’s Water Resources Division is advising rural residents to not accept “free” asphalt grindings from road-construction contractors.

“Basically, this is a cautionary tale,” said Jodie L. Wollnik, assistant director of water resources.

What’s happening goes something like this.

Pile of asphalt grindings.

A road-construction contractor or subcontractor will complete a paving project and have some large piles of asphalt grindings left over. The contractor can recycle the grindings at an asphalt plant or dispose of the grindings at an environmentally safe Clean Construction and Demolition Debris facility and pay a tipping fee.

To avoid paying the fees and the cost of moving the asphalt grindings, some contractors will offer the shavings to a nearby farmer or other land owner for free. The property owner accepts the free grindings for personal use — maybe to build a driveway or paved area to park farm machinery.

What the property owners often don’t realize is that a stormwater permit is required from the local jurisdiction — either the local municipality or Kane County — for land disturbance of more than 5,000 square feet or 250 cubic yards.

In fact, just allowing the piles of asphalt to be moved onto a property could put the property owner in violation of Clean Construction or Demolition Debris regulations.

“Over the past five years, Kane County has seen a significant increase in asphalt grindings finding their way onto farm and other properties within the county,” Wollnik said.

Depending on the amount of grindings, the property owner may need to construct potentially expensive stormwater improvements on their property to receive the grindings, including capping the grindings, storm sewers and stormwater detention that is required to be designed by a professional engineer.

In addition to the potential violation fees, disposal fees, permit fees, design fees and construction fees, the “free” asphalt grindings can end up costing the property owner thousands of dollars.

Wollnik offers this advice to anyone offered “free” asphalt grindings.


  • Check with your local municipality or Kane County (for unincorporated areas including Big Rock, Sleepy Hollow and Kaneville) before agreeing to accept any asphalt grindings to verify any local permitting or zoning requirements.
  • Check with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to ensure you are meeting all the requirements of (415 ILCS 5/3.160) Sec. 3.160 of the Construction or Demolition Debris Act for your end use for the grindings.
  • Consider developing a written agreement with the paving company signed by both parties to protect yourself from any materials that might be hazardous as well as holding the company responsible for obtaining all local and county permitting to protect you from violations.

“Remember, disposal sites require testing for hazardous materials that the paving company is avoiding by placing the grindings on your property!” Wollnik said.

Any agreement should ensure that the asphalt company is held responsible for the permitted disposal of the grindings and any costs that you might incur as the property owner.

And lastly, Wollnik said, remember the advice your parents gave you when you were growing up.

“Nothing in life is free,” she said. “And that includes asphalt grindings.”

Got a question about asphalt grindings? Contact Jodie L. Wollnik, assistant director of water resources, at 630-232-3499 or wollnikjodie@co.kane.il.us.

SOURCE: Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources news release