Open burning a hot issue in Pa.

August 27, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A vow to "burn anyway" expressed by a Linda Road resident echoed the tone of more than 70 Washington Township residents at a public hearing Wednesday night over an ordinance that would ban open burning of garbage, trash and other debris in all populated areas.

"At least we got their attention," said Richard Eigenbrode, president of the township supervisors, about the township's eight-year attempt to enact some kind of legislation to control open burning.

The fourth and latest draft ordinance bans open burning in densely populated areas designated in the township's zoning map but allows it in agricultural and industrial areas.


Many residents have a "burn barrel" on their property to get rid of unwanted trash and debris. It is a time-honored custom in the township, one which most of the 70 people who attended the hearing are not ready to give up.

An existing regulation bans the burning of household garbage and products made from petroleum, like plastics, Eigenbrode said.

The township has no mandatory trash pickup but does run a transfer station at which residents can drop off garbage and trash. The station compacts it and hauls it to a private landfill in Upton, Pa. Residents can recycle paper, glass and aluminum under a volunteer program.

All but two who spoke at the hearing opposed the ban.

"There's nothing wrong with burning clean trash," said Roy Swope of Penmar Road. He blamed new people moving into the community for demanding the ordinance.

Many residents with acreage said they could not get rid of tree limbs and brush if the law is passed.

"I've been clearing and burning all summer. What are we supposed to do with it?" said Bill Huff of Waynesboro, who owns land he wants to build on in the township.

Diana Henneberger and Sandra Rook favor the ban. Both said they live in densely populated developments and are affected by neighbors who burn everything from dirty diapers to plastics and garbage.

"They go out, light it up and walk away. I have to close my windows," Henneberger said.

Eigenbrode said the ordinance received more favorable comments at an earlier hearing.

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