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 do their homework and make sure to understand the consequences before accepting “free” asphalt grindings from road-construction contractors.

“Basically, this is a cautionary tale,” said Jodie L. Wollnik, director of the Kane County Division of Environmental & 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.

“Over the past seven 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 his or her property, including capping the grindings with a hard surface, storm sewers and stormwater detention that is required to be designed by a professional engineer.

The property owner can also potentially be facing state and federal violations if the grinding are placed in areas identified as wetland or floodplain.

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.

Since the original posting of this news release in March 2018, the Kane County Division of Transportation and the township highway districts have included a requirement in their paving contracts that requires paving companies to have a letter of permission from Kane County Water Resources before they are allowed to place grinding on private property.

The process is simple for residents living outside of municipalities: The property owner can send Kane County Water Resources (by email to wollnikjodie@co.kane.il.us) a simple map showing the location and size of where the grindings are to be placed on their property along with their address. (Google Maps work great!)

Water Resources personnel will review the map and verify a Stormwater Permit isn’t required and no wetlands or floodplain are impacted. Within 24 to 48 hours, if no additional permitting is needed, Water Resources will send the owner an approval letter by email that will need to be provided to the paving company to receive the grindings.

There is no fee for the approval letter.

Presently, this requirement only applies to local KDOT and township road district projects, so property owners accepting grindings from private paving projects or IDOT projects will need to do their homework before accepting the grindings.

Since implementing this procedure, property owners have saved thousands of dollars by avoiding violations of Zoning and Stormwater Regulations that would have resulted in costly improvements on their property!   

Got a question about asphalt grindings? Contact Jodie L. Wollnik, director of Environmental & Water Resources, at 630-232-3499 or wollnikjodie@co.kane.il.us.

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