Chapter 8.20
REGULATION OF OPEN BURNING

Sections:

8.20.010    Title.

8.20.020    Purpose.

8.20.030    Definitions.

8.20.040    Prohibitions on open burning.

8.20.050    Exemptions.

8.20.060    Permissible open burning.

8.20.070    Permits.

8.20.075    Permit fees.

8.20.080    Penalties for violation.

8.20.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the city of Staunton open-burning ordinance and is in addition to the provisions of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-40).

8.20.020 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to protect public health, safety, and welfare by regulating open burning in the city of Staunton to achieve and maintain, to the greatest extent practicable, a level of air quality that will provide comfort and convenience while promoting economic and social development. To the fullest extent permitted by law, this chapter is intended to supplement the applicable regulations promulgated by the State Air Pollution Control Board and other applicable regulations and laws. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-41).

8.20.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter and subsequent amendments or any orders issued by the city of Staunton or the fire code official, the words or phrases all have the meaning given them in this section.

(1) “Automobile graveyard” means any lot or place which is exposed to the weather and upon which more than five motor vehicles of any kind, incapable of being operated, and which it would not be economically practical to make operative, are placed, located or found.

(2) “Clean-burning waste” means waste which does not produce dense smoke when burned and is not prohibited to be burned under this chapter.

(3) “Construction waste” means solid waste which is produced or generated during construction of structures. Construction waste consists of lumber, wire, sheetrock, broken brick, shingles, glass, pipes, concrete, and metal and plastics if the metal or plastics are a part of the materials of construction, or empty containers for such materials. Paints, coatings, solvents, asbestos, any liquid, compressed gases of semi-liquids, and garbage are not construction wastes and the disposal of such materials must be in accordance with the regulations of the Virginia Waste Management Board.

(4) “Debris waste” means stumps, wood, brush, and leaves from land clearing operations.

(5) “Demolition waste” means that solid waste which is produced by the destruction of structures and their foundations and includes the same materials as construction waste.

(6) “Garbage” means rotting animal and vegetable matter, waste material and trash normally accumulated by a household in the course of ordinary day-to-day living and other forms of solid or liquid waste, including, but not limited to, waste resulting from residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, institutional, trade, construction, land clearing, forest management and emergency operations.

(7) “Hazardous waste” means refuse or combination of refuse which, because of its quantity, concentration or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may:

(a) Cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating illness; or

(b) Pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed, or otherwise managed.

(8) “Industrial waste” means all waste generated on the premises of manufacturing and industrial operations such as, but not limited to, those carried on in factories, processing plants, refineries, slaughter houses, and steel mills.

(9) “Junkyard” means an establishment or place of business which is maintained, operated, or used for storing, keeping, buying, or selling junk, or for the maintenance or operation of an automobile graveyard, and the term shall include garbage dumps and sanitary fills.

(10) “Open burning” means the burning of any matter in such a manner that the products resulting from combustion are emitted directly into the atmosphere without passing through a stack, duct or chimney.

(11) “Open pit incinerator” means a device used to burn waste for the primary purpose of reducing the volume by removing combustible matter. Such devices function by directing a curtain of air at an angle across the top of a trench or similarly enclosed space, thus reducing the amount of combustion byproducts emitted into the atmosphere. The term also includes trench burners, air curtain destructors and overdraft incinerators.

(12) “Red flag warning” means high fire danger with increased probability of a quickly spreading vegetation fire in the area within 24 hours.

(13) “Residential burning” means the outdoor burning of leaves, clippings, prunings and other yard and gardening refuse originating on lands immediately adjacent and in close proximity to a human dwelling and burned on such lands by the property owner or his designee.

(14) “Salvage operations” means any operation consisting of a business, trade or industry participating in salvaging or reclaiming any product or material, such as, but not limited to, reprocessing of used motor oils, metals, chemicals, shipping containers or drums, and specifically including automobile graveyards and junkyards.

(15) “Sky lantern” means an unmanned device with a fuel source that incorporates an open flame in order to make the device airborne.

(16) “Smoke” means small gas-borne particulate matter consisting mostly, but not exclusively, of carbon, ash and other material in concentrations sufficient to form a visible plume.

(17) “Special incineration device” means a pit incinerator, conical or teepee burner, or any other device specifically designed to provide good combustion performance. (Ord. 2016-03; Ord. 2015-16; Ord. 2005-09. Code 1985, § 13-42; Ord. 12-13-01).

8.20.040 Prohibitions on open burning.

(1) No owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or the use of a special incineration device for disposal of refuse except as provided in this chapter.

(2) No owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or the use of a special incineration device for disposal of rubber tires, asphaltic materials, crankcase oil, impregnated wood or other rubber or petroleum-based materials except when conducting bona fide firefighting instruction at firefighting training schools having permanent facilities.

(3) No owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or the use of a special incineration device for disposal of hazardous waste or containers for such materials.

(4) No owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or the use of a special incineration device for the purpose of a salvage operation or for the disposal of commercial/industrial waste.

(5) Open burning, or the use of special incineration devices permitted under the provisions of this chapter, does not exempt or excuse any owner or other person from the consequences, liability, damages or injuries which may result from such conduct; nor does it excuse or exempt any owner or other person from complying with other applicable laws, ordinances, regulations and orders of the governmental entities having jurisdiction, even though the open burning is conducted in compliance with this chapter. In this regard special attention should be directed to Section 10.1-1142 of the Forest Fire Law of Virginia, the regulations of the Virginia Waste Management Board, and the State Air Pollution Control Board’s Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution.

(6) Upon declaration of an alert, warning or emergency state of an air pollution episode as described in Part VII of the Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution or when deemed advisable by the State Air Pollution Control Board to prevent a hazard to, or an unreasonable burden upon, public health or welfare, no owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or use of a special incineration device; and in any process burning or use of special incineration devices shall be immediately terminated in the designated air quality control region.

(7) Upon declaration of a “red flag warning” by order of the fire code official, no owner or other person shall cause or permit open burning or use of a special incineration device.

(8) The use or release of sky lanterns or similar devices is prohibited. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-43).

8.20.050 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempted to the extent covered by the State Air Pollution Control Board’s Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution:

(1) Open burning for training and instruction of government and public firefighters under the supervision of the designated official and industrial in-house firefighting personnel;

(2) Open burning for campfires or other fires that are used solely for recreational purposes, for ceremonial occasions, for outdoor noncommercial preparation of food, and for warming of outdoor workers no more than three feet in diameter;

(3) Open burning for the destruction of any combustible liquid or gaseous material by burning in a flare or flare stack;

(4) Open burning for forest management and agriculture practices approved by the State Air Pollution Control Board; and

(5) Open burning for the destruction of classified military documents. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-44).

8.20.060 Permissible open burning.

(1) Open burning is permitted for the disposal of leaves and tree, yard and garden trimmings located on the premises of private property; provided, that the following conditions are met:

(a) The burning takes place on the premises of the private property; and

(b) The location of the burning is not less than 300 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior permission, other than a building located on the property on which the burning is conducted; and

(c) No regularly scheduled public or private collection service for such trimmings is available at the adjacent street or public road.

(2) Open burning is permitted for disposal of debris waste resulting from property maintenance, from the development or modification of roads and highways, parking areas, railroad tracks, pipelines, power and communication lines, buildings or building areas, or from any other clearing operations which may be approved by the fire code official, provided the following conditions are met:

(a) All reasonable effort shall be made to minimize the amount of material burned, with the number and size of the debris piles approved by fire code official;

(b) The material to be burned shall consist of brush, stumps and similar debris waste and shall not include demolition material;

(c) The burning shall be at least 500 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior permission, other than a building located on the property on which the burning is conducted;

(d) The burning shall be conducted at the greatest distance practicable from highways and air fields;

(e) The burning shall be attended at all times and conducted to ensure the best possible combustion with a minimum of smoke being produced;

(f) The burning shall not be allowed to smolder beyond the minimum period of time necessary for the destruction of the materials; and

(g) The burning shall be conducted only when the prevailing winds are away from any city, town or built-up area. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-45; Ord. 12-13-01).

8.20.070 Permits.

(1) When open burning of debris waste (SCC 8.20.060(2)) is to occur within the city of Staunton, the person responsible for the burning shall obtain a permit from the fire code official prior to the burning. Such a permit may be granted only after confirmation by the fire code official that the burning can and will comply with the provisions of this chapter and any other conditions which are deemed necessary to ensure that the burning will not endanger the public health and welfare or to ensure compliance with any applicable provisions of the State Air Pollution Control Board’s Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution. The permit may be issued for each occasion of burning or for a specific period of time deemed appropriate by the fire code official or their designee.

(2) Prior to the initial installation (or reinstallation, in cases of relocation) and operation of special incineration devices, the person responsible for the burning shall obtain a permit from the office of the fire code official, such permits to be granted only after confirmation by the fire code official that the burning can and will comply with the applicable provisions in Regulations for the Control and Abatement of Air Pollution and that any conditions are met which are deemed necessary by the fire code official to ensure that the operation of the devices will not endanger the public health and welfare. Permits granted for the use of special incineration devices shall, at a minimum, contain the following conditions:

(a) All reasonable effort shall be made to minimize the amount of material that is burned. Such efforts shall include, but are not limited to, the removal of pulpwood, sawlogs and firewood.

(b) The material to be burned shall consist of brush, stumps and similar debris waste and shall not include demolition material.

(c) The burning shall be at least 300 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior permission, other than a building located on the property on which the burning is conducted; burning shall be conducted at the greatest distance practicable from highways and air fields. If the fire code official or designee determines that it is necessary to protect public health and welfare, the fire code official may direct that any of the above cited distances be increased.

(d) The burning shall be attended at all times and conducted to ensure the best possible combustion with a minimum of smoke being produced. Under no circumstances should the burning be allowed to smolder beyond the minimum period of time necessary for the destruction of the materials.

(e) The burning shall be conducted only when the prevailing winds are away from any city, town or built-up area.

(f) The use of special incineration devices shall be allowed only for the disposal of debris waste, clean-burning construction waste, and clean-burning demolition waste.

(g) Open burning is prohibited before 4:00 p.m. local time each day between February 15th through April 30th if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

(h) Permits issued under this section shall be limited to a specific period of time deemed appropriate by the fire code official. (Ord. 2016-03; Ord. 2015-16; Ord. 2005-09. Code 1985, § 13-46; Ord. 12-13-01).

8.20.075 Permit fees.

(1) No permit required by the Staunton City Code to begin burning shall be issued until the fees prescribed in this section have been paid to the department of building inspection or other authorized municipal agency, nor shall an amendment to such a permit necessitating an additional fee be approved until the additional fee has been paid.

(a) A fee of $25.00 shall be paid for any open burning permit issued for the purpose of residential burning or for burning of residential construction waste.

(b) A fee of $100.00 shall be paid for any open burning permit issued for the purpose of burning debris waste and other than residential construction waste.

(2) Refunds shall be granted at the discretion of the fire code official based on amount of staff time involved in permitting at the time the permit application is to be requested withdrawn with no more than 50 percent of the fee to be refunded. (Ord. 2015-16; Ord. 2005-09).

8.20.080 Penalties for violation.

(1) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter, and for each and every such violation and noncompliance, respectively, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(2) Each separate incident shall be considered a new violation. (Ord. 2015-16. Code 1985, § 13-47; Ord. 5-9-96).