Township of Union, PA
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Union at time of adoption of Code (See Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 89.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 100.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 113.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 194.
Solid waste — See Ch. 218.

§ 106-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and cited as the "2014 Union Township Burning Ordinance."

§ 106-2 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for greater control and more effective regulation of excessive levels of smoke, air pollution and sources of excessive smoke due to burning within the Township. It is the opinion of the Board of Supervisors that excess levels of smoke and air pollution are detrimental to the physical, mental and social well-being of its residents as well as to the comfort, living conditions, general welfare and safety thereof.

§ 106-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BURN BARREL
Used steel drums formerly containing oil, grease, chemicals or other products typically available in fifty-five-gallon size.
CONTAINED FIRE
Any fire contained in a fireplace or other contained enclosure designed for outdoor cooking.
FURNACE
Any enclosed device specifically designed for burning any material for the production of heat.
GARBAGE
All putrescible animal and vegetable matter resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
INCINERATOR/NONCOMBUSTIBLE CONTAINER
Any device specifically designed for the destruction by burning of refuse, sewage sludge or any combustible material.
OPEN FIRE
A fire in which any material is burned in the open or in a receptacle.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, department, bureau, agency or legal entity.
RESPONSIBLE ADULT
An individual 18 years of age or older, who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from any other disability which would impair his or her ability to properly supervise a fire.
RUBBISH
Solids or liquids not considered to be highly flammable or explosive, including, but not limited to, rags, old clothes, leather, rubber, carpets, excelsior, ashes, furniture, tin cans, used oil, glass, crockery, masonry, plastics, recyclable items and other similar items.
SALVAGE OPERATION
Any business, trade or industry engaged in whole or in part in salvaging or reclaiming any product or material, including, but not limited to, metals, chemicals, shipping containers or drums.
TOWNSHIP
Township of Union, Washington County, Pennsylvania.
TRADE WASTE
All solid or liquid material or rubbish resulting from construction, building operations or the prosecution of any business, trade or industry, including, but not limited to, plastic products, cartons, paint, grease, oil and other petroleum products, chemicals, cinders and other forms of solid or liquid waste materials, provided that trade waste shall not include any coal refuse associated with mining or preparation of coal.

§ 106-4 Regulations.

A. 
No person shall ignite or contribute to an open fire while conducting a salvage operation in any public or private place.
B. 
No person shall ignite or contribute to an open fire of garbage, rubbish and trade waste, leaves and/or grass.
C. 
Open/controlled fires of tree limbs and branches and paper waste shall be allowed within the Township only on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern standard time and on Saturdays between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST. Open fires set forth herein shall be contained in a fire ring made of noncombustible material such as iron, steel, masonry or stone, which is no higher than 2.5 feet and which is constructed to provide adequate air flow to the fire. Burn barrels shall not be permitted.
D. 
Open fires shall not be permitted during holidays (i.e., Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, etc.).
E. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the maintenance of any fire during times of high winds.
F. 
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the open burning of any item located within trailer parks, mobile home parks, trailer courts and/or mobile home courts.
G. 
All fires shall be attended to at all times by a responsible adult with readily available means of extinguishing the fire. A water hose, buckets and/or sprinkling cans shall be proximal to the fire for purposes of controlling the same.
H. 
Fire must be extinguished thoroughly with no smoldering before leaving the area or at the time limit set forth in Subsection C.
I. 
It shall be unlawful to transport tree limbs, branches or brush from outside of the Township boundaries in order to be burned within the Township.

§ 106-5 Exceptions.

A. 
Open fires may be set for recreational purposes pursuant to the following specific conditions:
(1) 
Only wood shall be burned, and no excessive smoke is allowed.
(2) 
Recreational fires shall be contained in a pit made of noncombustible material such as iron, steel, masonry or stone. Said fire pit must be located not closer than 20 feet to any structure. A recreational fire pit shall be no more than 2.5 feet high and four feet wide.
(3) 
A water hose and/or buckets/sprinkling cans shall be proximal to the recreational fire for purposes of controlling the same.
(4) 
No recreational fire is allowed to be left unattended.
(5) 
In cases where smoke and/or hot ashes blow directly into windows and/or roofs of adjacent homes, smoke shall be cleared or fire extinguished.
B. 
Recreational fires shall be extinguished thoroughly before leaving the area or at 11:00 p.m.
C. 
Only grilles that are fueled by wood, charcoal, liquid propane gas and/or natural gas are permitted for purposes of preparing food.

§ 106-6 Commercial burning.

Burning for commercial purposes is permitted only where the business is authorized by and possesses a valid Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection permit for said burning.

§ 106-7 Agricultural burning.

In agricultural zones and in agricultural uses regardless of zone, burning consistent with normal agricultural operation (see Pennsylvania Act 133, "Right to Farm") shall be excluded from regulation.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 3 P.S. § 951 et seq. (Act 133 of 1982).

§ 106-8 Unlawful acts; hazardous substances.

A. 
Burning of rubbish, refuse, construction debris, aerosol cans, by-products of manufacturing and processing operations, and wastes from commercial operations is strictly prohibited.
B. 
Nothing herein shall be construed to permit or encourage the burning of any substance determined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be a hazardous substance, nor shall any fire be permitted to burn by any persons if such burning is in violation of the Air Pollution Control Act[1] or other legislation by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America, or any of their legislative agencies.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 4001 et seq.

§ 106-9 Fire ban emergency.

A. 
The Board of Supervisors, Washington County Emergency Management and/or commonwealth regulatory official may declare a fire ban emergency in Union Township with or without consultation with the Fire Chief of the local volunteer fire company operating within the Township during a period of drought or other periods of high fire risk to woodlands or property within Union Township.
B. 
Upon the Board of Supervisors' declaration of a fire ban emergency, all outdoor burning or fires shall be prohibited until the ban is lifted by the Board of Supervisors.
C. 
The Township shall publish a notice of the fire ban emergency at least once in a local newspaper of general circulation. In addition, the Township may issue news releases to all communication media, including radio, television and newspapers.

§ 106-10 Enforcement.

The Board of Supervisors shall appoint the Code Enforcement Officer, who shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

§ 106-11 Violations and penalties.

A. 
It shall be unlawful to burn, ignite, incinerate, maintain or otherwise permit the burning of any materials whatsoever without complying with the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding brought before a Magisterial District Judge under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution. In default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days. Each day or portion thereof that such violation continues or is permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this chapter that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense.

§ 106-12 Reimbursement for costs of abatement connected to illegal acts.

A. 
In the case of a fire requiring firefighters and/or equipment, and upon conviction of any violation of this chapter, the violator shall also pay charges in order to cover the firefighting costs. Charges shall be assessed for the use of the following firefighting equipment:
(1) 
Pumpers and tankers.
(2) 
Brush busters. Brush busters are all-wheel-drive vehicles equipped for off-road or wooded area use with a water tank of at least 500 gallons' capacity and an appropriate size pump.
(3) 
Chainsaws.
B. 
Additional labor charges shall be assessed under this chapter based upon an hourly rate for all firefighters engaged in the firefighting activities, if applicable.
C. 
The Board of Supervisors shall determine, by resolution, a reasonable schedule of costs based upon mileage, operating costs and firefighting equipment and man hours. These charges shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any penalties provided elsewhere in this chapter.

§ 106-13 Municipal liability.

The Board of Supervisors, and its agents, officials and representatives, shall not under any circumstances be liable or responsible for damages caused to any person or property by reason of the issuance of any permit under the provisions of this chapter or by reason of the conduct of any burning activity in compliance or noncompliance with the terms and provisions hereof. The person, persons, company or companies responsible for any such fire and the permit holder shall bear sole liability for any damages caused as a result thereof.