Much Ado about Mulch: Need to Comply with New State Regulations

By Henry A. Goodman, Esq.

Well, it’s officially the fall, and many condominium associations have turned their attention away from landscapers and are meeting with contractors regarding snow removal plans.  That’s a good idea, but we need to return to the soil for a moment before it freezes.

Associations now need to address new mulch regulations that went into effect September 1, 2012.  These regulations come in response to several local fires involving mulch-wood products.  A key new policy provision in the new regs concerns the need to use mulch that is fire-retardant.

The fact is that mulch fires, typically caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, can result in millions of dollars of damage, as well as injuries and displacements of residents.  That is what prompted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to enact these new measures.

Associations need to comply with the wishes of state fire marshals as expressed in a recently released document from the Department of Fire Services.  This document contains helpful tips for associations, property managers, and unit owners, including how to be a responsible smoker and how to manufacture and store mulch.

In the interest of public safety, and to protect your liability, we at GSL urge you to respond in a responsible manner and do all you can to mitigate risks. Please contact us if you would like further counsel on this issue.