Open Burning in Ohio

W hat does the EPA consider as Open Burning?

Open burning is the burning of any materials where contaminents resulting from combustion are released into the open air without passing through a stack or chimney. Depending on what you are burning and where you are located, EPA permission is required before burning.

What is the difference between a Restricted and Unrestricted area?

A restricted area consists of any area within the incorporation limits of any municipality or village that contains between 1,000 to 10,000 residents as well as a zone of 1,000 feet beyond any boundary line of that municipality or village. If the municipality has over 10,000 residents, then the boundary zone becomes one mile from any boundary line of the municipality. An unrestricted area includes all of the areas located outside of a restricted area.

What is considered Agricultural Waste?

Agricultural waste includes any waste material generated by crop, horticultural, or livestock production practices and includes woody debris or plant material from stream flooding, bags, cartons, structural materials, and landscape wastes that are generated in agricultural activities. Agricultural waste does not include land clearing waste, buildings, garbage, dead animals, animal waste, motor vehicles, and motor vehicle parts.

When can I burn Agricultural Waste?

To burn agricultural waste in a restricted area, the Ohio EPA must be notified 10 days prior to the burn. The notification must include a purpose for the open burn, a detailed list of what will be burned, the date(s) when the burning will take place, and the location of the burning site. The EPA will determine if the burn is allowed according to Ohio law and will notify the applicant if they feel that the open burn is not permitted.
Once notice is given to the EPA (and the applicant does not receive notice that the burn is not permitted), agricultural waste may be burned on the date specified in the notice if all of the five following conditions are met:

  1. The fire is set when contaminants can readily dissipate.
  2. The fire will not create a visibility hazard on roadways, railroad tracks, or air fields.
  3. The fire is located no less than 1,000 feet from any inhabited structure unless the structure is located on the premises where the burn will take place.
  4. The wastes are stacked and dried for efficient burning.
  5. No materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or liquid petroleum are burned.

Agricultural waste may be burned in an unrestricted area without notification to or permission from the Ohio EPA if the same five conditions are met that are required in a restricted area. It is always a good idea to notify your local fire department (in restricted and unrestricted areas) of the date of your proposed burn if you plan to burn agricultural waste on your property. Depending on the locality, a permit may be required by your local fire district.

What is Land Clearing Waste?

Land clearing waste is any plant waste material that is removed from land for the purpose of preparing the land for residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural development.

When can I burn Land Clearing Waste?

According to Ohio law, if you are located within a restricted area, you are not allowed to burn land clearing waste on your property. If you are located within an unrestricted area, written permission from the Ohio EPA is needed to burn land clearing waste that was generated on the burning site. The application to burn in an unrestricted area must be sent to the Ohio EPA at least 10 working days prior to the date of the burn and must include a purpose for the proposed burning, a detailed list of what will be burned, the date(s) of the proposed burn, the location of the burning site included distances to residences, populated areas, and air fields, and the methods that will be used by the applicant to reduce emissions of air contaminants.

Once the Ohio EPA sends you a letter approving your open burn, you can burn your land clearing waste on the date specified in your application if all of the following four conditions are met:
1) The fire is set when contaminants can readily dissipate.
2) The fire will not create a visibility hazard on roadways, railroad tracks, or air fields.
3) The fire is located no less than 1,000 feet from any inhabited structure unless the structure is located on the premises where the burn will take place.
4) An air curtain destructor, other device or other method which is determined by the director of the EPA to be as effective as an air curtain destructor is used to reduce the release of air contaminants. This requirement should be
addressed in your application to burn and will be approved when you receive your written permission to burn from the Ohio EPA. As with burning agricultural waste, it is always a good idea to notify your local fire department of
the date of the proposed burn when you have received permission from the Ohio EPA to burn land clearing waste on your property.

How do I contact my local OhioEPA office about Open Burning?

The district you are located in will determine which district office you will contact about notices to open burn, applications to open burn, or for answers to other questions regarding open burning. Utilize the map on the back of this brochure to determine which district you are in. Contact numbers for each district are located below the map. Each district office will also have contact numbers for each of their county EPA representatives.

This article is available as a PDF for download

Stark County Farm Bureau Legal Information SeriesThis brochure is meant to be an educational tool and should not be perceived as legal advice. If you feel that you need more information regarding any open burning dispute, please  contact an attorney.

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