[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Slippery Rock 6-5-2012 by Ord. No. 667. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Borough of Slippery Rock Burning/Open Burning Ordinance."
The Council of the Borough of Slippery Rock, under and by virtue of and pursuant to the authority granted by the Borough Code, 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq., does hereby enact and ordain this chapter.
Whereas the Council of the Borough of Slippery Rock has determined that air pollution from open burning may be detrimental to the health, comfort, living conditions, use and enjoyment of property, welfare, and safety of the citizens of the Borough, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Borough to safeguard citizens of the Borough from such air pollution.
The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, shall have the following meanings ascribed to them:
- AIR BASIN
- A geographic area of this commonwealth as designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
- AIR CURTAIN DESTRUCTOR
- A mechanical device which forcefully projects a curtain of air across a pit in which open burning is being conducted so that combustion efficiency is increased and smoke and other particulate matter are contained.
- The act of consuming by fire; to flame, char, scorch, or blaze. As used in this chapter, "smoldering" shall have the same meaning as "burning," and any smoldering shall be deemed a burning.
- CLEARING AND GRUBBING WASTES
- Trees, shrubs, and other native vegetation which are cleared from land during or prior to the process of construction. The term does not include demolition wastes and dirt-laden roots.
- The process by which organic solid waste is biologically decomposed under controlled anaerobic or aerobic conditions to yield a humus-like product.
- The governing body of the Borough of Slippery Rock.
- DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
- The commonwealth agency responsible for enforcement of the commonwealth's environmental laws.
- DOMESTIC REFUSE
- Waste which is generated from the normal occupancy of a structure occupied solely as a dwelling by two families or less. The term does not include appliances, carpets, demolition waste (insulation, shingles, siding, etc.), furniture, mattresses or box springs, paint, putrescible waste, solvents, tires or treated wood.
- OPEN BURNING
- A fire, the air contaminants from which are emitted directly into the outdoor atmosphere and not directed thereto through a flue.
- Any individual, public or private corporation, for profit or not for profit, association, partnership, firm, trust, estate, department, board, bureau or agency of the commonwealth or the federal government, political subdivision, municipality, district, authority, or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.
- RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL
- Person designated by the Borough to be responsible for the administration and enforcement of this chapter.
- YARD WASTE
- Leaves, grass clippings, garden residue, tree trimmings, chipped shrubbery, and other vegetative material.
After the effective date of this chapter, no person may permit the open burning of material, with the exception of the following:
A fire set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's Regional Air Quality Program office and set by or under the supervision of the Fire Chief, or his or her designee.
Any fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in firefighting, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's Regional Air Quality Program office.
A fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's Regional Air Quality Program office.
A fire set for the purpose of burning clearing and grubbing waste. If within an air basin as designated by the Department of Environmental Protection, an air curtain destructor must be used and must be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection's Regional Air Quality Program office.
A fire set in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities in their unmanufactured state on the premises of the farm operation.
A fire set solely for cooking food.
A fire set solely for recreational or ceremonial purposes.
The Borough of Slippery Rock shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
The Borough of Slippery Rock may issue such notices of violation as are necessary to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. These notices shall include but shall not be limited to notices requiring persons to cease unlawful open burning which, in the course of its occurrence, is in violation of any provisions of this chapter; notices to take corrective action or to abate a public nuisance; notices requiring the testing, sampling, or monitoring of any open burning; or notices requiring production of information. Such notices may be issued if the Borough of Slippery Rock finds that any condition existing in or on the facility or source involved is causing or contributing to open burning or if the Borough finds that any person is in violation of any provision of this chapter.
The Borough of Slippery Rock may, in its notices of violation, require compliance with such conditions as are necessary to prevent or abate open burning or effect the purposes of this chapter.
The authority of the Borough of Slippery Rock to issue a notice of violation under this section is in addition to any remedy or penalty which may be imposed pursuant to this chapter or under applicable federal or state laws. The failure to comply with any such notice of violation is hereby declared to be a public nuisance.
Whenever the responsible official finds that open burning is occurring in the Borough of Slippery Rock, other than those exceptions noted in § 121-5 above, the responsible official may require the owner or operator to take corrective action in a manner satisfactory to the Borough of Slippery Rock, or the responsible official may require the owner or operator to allow access to the land by the responsible official or a third party to take such action.
For purposes of collecting or recovering the costs involved in taking corrective action or pursuing a cost-recovery action pursuant to a notice of violation or recovering the cost of litigation, oversight, monitoring, sampling, testing, and investigation related to a corrective action, the Borough of Slippery Rock may collect the amount in the same manner as civil penalties are assessed and collected following the process for assessment and collection of a civil penalty contained in § 121-9 of this chapter.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $2,500 for each separate offense and, in default of the payment of such fine, may be sentenced to imprisonment for 90 days for each separate offense. Employees of the Borough of Slippery Rock authorized to conduct inspections or investigations are hereby declared to be law enforcement officers authorized to issue or file citations for summary violations under this chapter, and the Borough's Solicitor, or other designated legal counsel, is hereby authorized to prosecute these offenses. For purposes of this section, a summary offense may be prosecuted before any Magisterial District Judge in the Borough of Slippery Rock. There is no accelerated rehabilitative disposition authorized for a summary offense.
In addition to proceeding under any other remedy available at law or in equity for a violation of a provision of this chapter, the Borough of Slippery Rock may assess a civil penalty for the violation. The penalty may be assessed whether or not the violation was willful. The civil penalty so assessed shall not exceed $5,000 per day for each violation. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Borough shall consider:
The willfulness of the violation;
Damage to air, soil, water, or other natural resources of the Borough or their uses;
Financial benefit to the person as a result of the violation;
Deterrence of future violations;
Cost to the Borough;
The size of the source;
The compliance history of the source;
The severity and duration of the violation;
Degree of cooperation in resolving the violation;
The speed with which compliance is ultimately achieved;
Whether the violation was voluntarily reported;
Other factors unique to the owners or operators of the source; and
Other relevant factors.
When the Borough of Slippery Rock proposes to assess a civil penalty, it shall inform the person of the proposed amount of the penalty. The person charged with the penalty shall then have 30 days to pay the proposed penalty in full, or if the person wishes to contest the amount of the penalty or the fact of the violation to the extent not already established, the person shall forward the proposed amount of penalty to the Borough within the thirty-day period for placement in an escrow account with the State Treasurer or any commonwealth bank or post an appeal bond to the Council within 30 days in the amount of the proposed penalty, provided that such bond is executed by a surety licensed to do business in the commonwealth. If, through administrative or final judicial review of the proposed penalty, it is determined that no violation occurred or that the amount of the penalty shall be reduced, the Council shall, within 30 days, remit the appropriate amount to the person with any interest accumulated by the escrow deposit. Failure to forward the money or the appeal bond at the time of the appeal shall result in a waiver of all legal rights to contest the violation or the amount of the civil penalty unless the appellant alleges financial inability to prepay the penalty or to post the appeal bond. The Borough Council shall conduct a hearing to consider the appellant's alleged inability to pay within 30 days of the date of the appeal. The Council may waive the requirement to prepay the civil penalty or to post an appeal bond if the appellant demonstrates and the Council finds that the appellant is financially unable to pay. The Council shall issue an order within 30 days of the date of the hearing to consider the appellant's alleged inability to pay. The amount assessed after the administrative hearing or after waiver of administrative hearing shall be payable to the Borough of Slippery Rock and shall be collectible in any manner provided by law for the collection of debts, including the collection of interest on the penalty amount computed in accordance with Section 6621(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, from the date of assessment of the penalty. If any person liable to pay any such penalty neglects or refuses to pay the same after demand, the amount, together with interest and any costs that may accrue, shall constitute a debt of such person, as may be appropriate, to the Borough of Slippery Rock. The debt shall constitute a lien on all property owned by said person when a notice of lien incorporating a description of the property of the person subject to the action is duly filed with the Prothonotary of the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
Editor's Note: See 26 U.S.C. § 6621(a)(2).
It shall be unlawful to fail to comply with or to cause to assist in the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or to fail to comply with any notice of violation of the Borough of Slippery Rock or to hinder, obstruct, prevent, or interfere with the Borough of Slippery Rock or its personnel in their performance of any duty hereunder, including denying the responsible official access to the source.
A violation of this chapter shall constitute a public nuisance. The Borough of Slippery Rock shall have the authority to require any person causing a public nuisance to abate the public nuisance. In addition, when abating a public nuisance, the Borough may recover the expenses of abatement following the process for assessment and collection of a civil penalty contained in § 121-9. Whenever the nuisance is maintained or continued contrary to this chapter, the nuisance may be abatable in the manner provided by this chapter. Any person who causes the public nuisance shall be liable for the cost of abatement.