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NWSWD Enforcement

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  1. NWSWD Enforcement Preventing Illegal Burning in Northern Vermont

  2. According to the EPA: “A single household that burns their trash in barrels produces more pollutants than a well-operated full-scale Municipal Waste Combustor”* *Lemieux, Paul (1997) “evaluation of Emissions from the Open Burning of Household Waste in Barrels” United States EPA, Nov. 1997

  3. History • The Northwest Vermont Solid Waste District NWSWD) enacted its Illegal Burning and Dumping Ordinance in 1998 • This ordinance was enacted to “protect public health and safety and to promote responsible use of resources and protection of the environment”* *NWSWD Civil Ordinance Regulating the Burning and Disposal of Solid waste

  4. History Continued… • July 1998- Enforcement activities began using existing NWSWD staff • June 1999- the Franklin and Grand Isle County Sheriff’s were contracted with to provide enforcement activities • July 2001 to June 2002: NWSWD requested and received a grant from the Agency of Natural Resources to conduct a “barrel survey” and to actively enforce the NWSWD Ordinance

  5. June 2002- the first “Burn Barrel Log” was completed for member towns of NWSWD in Franklin County • March 2003 to March 2004- NWSWD was awarded another ANR grant to do an evaluation of the original log and to increase our education and presence in member towns in Grand Isle County • April 2004- the evaluation study and a “burn barrel log” for Grand Isle County have been completed

  6. Program Findings (2001-2002) • All roads in Franklin County member towns were surveyed • 656* residential and business properties were found to have one or more visible burning barrels or pits on the property • 8% of the households in Franklin County were potential trash burners (*Note: The total number of burning devices discovered in Franklin County is 924, between July 2001 and March of 2004)

  7. Findings (2001-2002) continued • NWSWD received 10 to 15 calls per week during the initial 3 months of this program to complain about burning incidents • 34 warnings were issued during the first 3 months of this program. Over 125 warnings have been issued since July of 2001

  8. Program Findings (2003-2004)Grand Isle County • 169 residential and business properties were found to have one or more visible burning barrels or pits on the property • This represent 8.6% of the households in Grand Isle County member towns • 40 verbal and written warnings were issued to enforcement violators

  9. Program Findings (2003-2004)Evaluation study Franklin County • All but 35 barrels, of the original 656 “logged” have been verified as removed or inactive • This represents a discontinuance of burning rate of 94.7% • Calls rates from burn complaints have decreased to less than one per week • The 35 homes still burning have been placed on a priority list for future investigations

  10. Components of a Successful Program: Active Enforcement Education Promotion Partnerships

  11. Active Enforcement Active enforcement and person to person contact is key to discouraging burning: • Use both Verbal and written warnings to discourage repeat offenses • The Enforcement Officer chosen is key to success: Utilize a “local” person for enforcement if possible

  12. Education Education must come before enforcement • Trash burning is historical in some areas, overcoming this “tradition” requires education • Present residents with easy to understand educational materials prior to issuing written warnings • Use all available mean to “get the word out”

  13. Promotion Promotion of the program and the fact that you are conducting “active” patrols and enforcement is a must • Newspapers • Newsletters • Town Meetings • Flyers • Radio

  14. Partnerships Building partnerships is important. Having support from other local officials can go a long way in discouraging burning. • Local law enforcement (Sheriff, Constable, etc.) • Town Selectboards, town clerks • Fire Wardens and fire departments • Health Officers

  15. Comments and Lessons Learned • Promotion is tough, getting the word out to everyone is not possible so it will take time to have an affect • Watch out for TOES. Local fire wardens, select board members and others may feel your work is overstepping theirs. Make a strong effort to recruit partners

  16. Response time can be an issue. If you say you are doing “active” enforcement you must offer active enforcement • Repeat offenses; you must be willing to issue tickets for repeat offenses • Safety- be aware that some residents will resent enforcement officers on their property or issuing tickets. Use a local Sheriff for back-up if this may be an issue

  17. Conclusion • Active Enforcement works! • Do patrols • Talk to people, even if they are not burning, Yet • Keep a log of your progress • Hire only friendly, well spoken enforcement officers. Avoid people who

  18. For more information or to receive a copy of the NWSWD Ordinance: Mike Loner Project Specialist, NWSWD Phone: (802) 524-5986 Email: nwswdps@adelphia.net