Residents, supervisors split over burn law

June 21, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - An ordinance banning most outside burning comes up for a vote July 20 before the Washington Township Supervisors, but a sitting supervisor and one coming on board in January think the law should ban barrel burning, too.

The new ordinance follows Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection agency's rules against outdoor burning, Supervisor Chris Firme said following Monday's meeting of the local board.

He said the DEP eventually will ban burning in barrels.

"Right now, we're taking baby steps," he said. "The township allows it because DEP allows it."

Supervisor James Kirby said barrel burning still is allowed in Washington Township, "because we're still trying to be country."

The proposed ordinance bans all burning except fires set by public agencies to prevent hazards, fire department training, fires to control disease and pests, fires for agricultural purposes, for ceremonial reasons, barbecues and clearing construction debris.


Recyclable materials include glass bottles, aluminum and bimetal cans, steel cans, number 1 and 2 plastic containers, newspaper and cardboard.

"You can't burn recyclables in a barrel," Firme said. "About the only thing you can burn is junk mail, because it can't be recycled."

John Gorman, who is running unopposed for supervisor in November, said open burning, even in barrels, should be banned.

"It's bad for the environment, it brings complaints from neighbors and it's impossible to police," Gorman said.

Rouzerville, Pa., resident Terry Talbert asked that the supervisors end or restrict barrel burning because of the obnoxious smoke it sends through neighborhoods.

Woodlot owners Terry Sebold of Pennersville Road and Dixie Rook of Old Forge Road asked the supervisors to reconsider a rule in the proposed ordinance that bans burning brush and tree trimmings. "We need to clean out our woodlots so we need to burn the brush and tree trimmings," Sebold said.

Under the new ordinance, residents will be able to put leaves in biodegradable, but not plastic, bags and bundle twigs and cut branches into four-foot lengths so they can be picked up by township workers or their contracted trash hauler twice a year.

They can also bring such items to the township's recycling center off Pa. 16 east.

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