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Borough of Schwenksville, PA
Montgomery County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Schwenksville 8-11-1994 by Ord. No. 267. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 90.
Solid waste — See Ch. 138.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Schwenksville Borough Open Burning Ordinance of 1994."
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, shall have the following meanings respectively ascribed to them:
COUNCIL
Borough Council of the Borough of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.
FLUE
Any duct, passage, stack, chimney or conduit permitting air contaminants to be emitted into the open air.
GARBAGE
All putrescible animal and vegetable matter resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
ODOR
That property of a substance which affects the sense of smell.
OPEN BURNING
Any unclosed fire wherein air contaminants, including smoke and/or odor, are emitted to the open air and are not directed thereto through a flue.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, syndicate, company, firm, trust, corporation, or other entity recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties, including any governmental agency.
RECREATIONAL BURNING
The burning of natural wood in a manufactured, freestanding fire pit/ring or outside stove not exceeding three feet in diameter, which burning meets the criteria set forth in § 59-4E(11) of this chapter.
[Added 11-11-2004 by Ord. No. 324]
REFUSE
Garbage, rubbish and trade waste.
RUBBISH
Solids not considered to be highly flammable or explosive including but not limited to rags, old clothes, leather, rubber, carpets, wood excelsior, paper, ashes, tree branches, tree leaves, yard trimmings, furniture, tin cans, glass, crockery, masonry and other similar materials.
SALVAGE OPERATIONS
Salvaging or reclaiming of any produce or material, including but not limited to, metals, chemicals, shipping containers or drums.
SMOKE
Extremely small solid particles produced by incomplete combustion of organic substances and includes, but is not limited to, fly ash, cinders, tarry matter, unburned gases, soot or carbon and gaseous combustion products.
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, however, that trade waste shall not include any coal refuse associated with the mining or preparation of coal.
The Schwenksville Borough Fire Marshal and the Schwenksville Police Department shall have the powers and duties to:
A. 
Enforce the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations contained therein;
B. 
Receive and initiate complaints or violations of the regulations of this chapter;
C. 
In accordance with law, enter and inspect any building, property, premise or place for the purpose of investigating an actual or suspected source of open burning or for the purpose of ascertaining the compliance or noncompliance with any regulation of this chapter.
D. 
Have access to and require information pertinent to any matter under investigation.
E. 
Send written notice of any violation of this chapter to the person responsible for the violation.
F. 
Attend all meetings of the Borough Council if requested and file a written report of the violation of any regulation of this chapter.
G. 
Institute prosecution for violation of the regulations of this chapter.
A. 
No person shall conduct a salvage operation or destroy refuse by open burning. Exceptions shall be as follows:
(1) 
Any fire set to prevent or abate a fire hazard, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and when set by or under the supervision of a public officer;
(2) 
Any fire set for the purpose of instructing personnel in fire fighting, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection;
(3) 
Any fire set for the prevention and control of disease or pests, when approved by the Department of Environmental Protection;
(4) 
Any fire set for the purpose of burning domestic refuse, when the fire is on the premises of any structure occupied solely as a dwelling by two families or fewer and when such refuse results from the normal occupancy of said structure.
B. 
No person shall cause, suffer or permit any open burning operation whatsoever if said open burning operation is contrary to § 129.14, Chapter 129, of Title 25, Rules and Regulations of the Department of Environmental Protection.
C. 
No person shall in any manner, hinder, delay, obstruct, resist, prevent, or in any way interfere with the Fire Marshal or his assistants in the performance of their duties hereunder, or refuse such personnel, after proper identification, entrance at reasonable hours to any premises.
D. 
No person shall fail, neglect, or refuse to comply with any written abatement notice served on such premises, either personally, or by registered or certified mail issued by the Fire Marshal of the Borough of Schwenksville. Such notice shall set forth a violation of this chapter and a time within which the violation is to be abated. Any person receiving such abatement notice may obtain an extension of time to comply therewith by making application to, and obtaining the approval of, the Schwenksville Borough Council.
E. 
Open burning safety regulations. Any open burning authorized under this chapter shall be conducted in accordance with the following safety regulations:
(1) 
Prior to conducting any type of open burning, a Borough resident shall apply at the Borough office for an open burning permit. Only after said permit is issued by the Fire Marshal may an open burning be conducted. A fee for the permit shall be set by resolution of the Council.
(2) 
The duration of the permit shall be 30 days, unless otherwise extended by the Fire Marshal.
(3) 
Before conducting any burning, all residents shall notify the County Fire Board at 1-610-287-6911, stating their name, address and phone number; after the burning, resident must again notify the Board that burning is finished.
[Amended 1-13-2005 by Ord. No. 327]
(4) 
Only yard waste, including leaves, twigs, shrub trimmings small branches and like vegetation shall be burned. Open burning of lumber, pallets, wood shingles, scrap wood, cardboard, paper, garbage, and other similar items is not permitted.
[Amended 11-11-2004 by Ord. No. 324]
(5) 
Open burnings shall be conducted at a distance not less than 50 feet from any structure and no less than 25 feet from any power line, phone line, overhead tree branch and such.
(6) 
All yard waste materials intended for burning must be in such a condition of dryness that they will readily ignite and be burned with a minimum of smoke, gases and airborne particles.
(7) 
Piles of materials to be burned shall be kept at a size where burning can be readily controlled. In no case shall such piles exceed five feet in any direction.
(8) 
Burning is only permitted between sunrise and sunset. All fires shall be completely extinguished, including smoldering embers, prior to sunset on the same day in which ignited.
(9) 
Burning of domestic yard waste shall be constantly supervised by a responsible adult over 18 years of age. During such burning, a water hose attached to an operable water faucet shall be of sufficient length so that it is capable of extending at least 15 feet beyond the site of the burning.
[Amended 1-13-2005 by Ord. No. 327]
(10) 
Burning shall not be permitted during any period of strong winds, drought or weather inversion (i.e., hazardous air quality conditions), or during any other situation deemed hazardous or objectionable by the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or a law enforcement officer. If such hazardous or objectionable conditions develop during a day when burning is being conducted, existing permits may be canceled by the Fire Chief, Fire Marshal or a law enforcement officer. Upon notification that a hazardous or objectionable condition has developed, all burning shall cease and the resident shall extinguish the active fire, including embers thereof.
(11) 
Recreational burning is permitted in residential areas without a Fire Department permit only under the following circumstances:
[Added 11-11-2004 by Ord. No. 324]
(a) 
Only natural firewood cut in short lengths less than two feet may be burned.
(b) 
The fire must be contained in a manufactured freestanding fire pit/ring or an excavated pit not exceeding three feet in diameter.
(c) 
All fire rings or pits must be located a minimum of 25 feet away from any structures or combustibles such as houses, garages, sheds, propane tanks, wood piles and wooden fences. Manufactured freestanding fire pits must be located a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustibles such as houses, garages, sheds, propane tanks, wood piles and wooden fences.
(d) 
The fire must be constantly attended and supervised by an adult until the fire has been completely extinguished.
(e) 
A connected garden hose or other means to extinguish the fire must be readily available.
(f) 
The use of flammable or combustible liquid accelerants is not permitted.
(g) 
Recreational fires are not permitted on windy days when the smoke may create a nuisance for nearby neighbors.
(h) 
Recreational burning is not permitted on commercial or industrial sites, or sites with construction activities.
(i) 
Police and Fire Department officers are authorized to require that any fire be immediately extinguished and discontinued if it is determined that the fire is not in compliance with the above rules, the smoke is offensive to nearby neighbors, or the burning is determined to constitute a hazardous condition.
A. 
Violation of any of the foregoing provisions shall constitute a summary criminal offense punishable for each offense by a maximum fine of $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment for not more than 30 days. Each day that a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
The Fire Marshal may institute an action in equity for an injunction to restrain continuous violations of the chapter in the event the Fire Marshal has issued an abatement notice which is being violated and which is not then the subject of judicial review.