DEP, Big Run Area Vol. Fire Co. Reach Settlement

MEADVILLE — The Department of Environmental Protection reached a settlement agreement with the Big Run Area Volunteer Fire Co. for illegally burning demolition debris on Aug. 22, 2010, in Big Run Borough, Jefferson County. The agreement requires the fire company to pay a $5,000 penalty.

DEP received complaints from residents concerning smoke and odors from the illegal fire, prompting an investigation that identified multiple violations. DEP cited the fire department for its intentional open burning, smoke and odors crossing property lines, and savings or financial benefit from non-compliance.

Prior to the fire, DEP explained the permitting requirements and process to allow the burning of standing structures for fire training. DEP staff also informed the fire company on three separate occasions that burning the debris without the appropriate approvals would violate the Air Pollution Control Act and the Solid Waste Management Act.

The fire department demolished a commercial structure adjacent to the fire station after its contractor completed the required asbestos abatement project. The fire company then burned the demolition debris on the property, the act that led to the penalty.

The $5,000 penalty was paid into Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Fund, which supports projects designed to improve air quality throughout the state.

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