Learn More about the Environmental and Health Effects of Outdoor Burning

Open Burning Information

An EPA report published in November, 1997 shows that a single household burn barrel may emit as much toxic chemicals as a well-controlled municipal incinerator. “Major sources” of pollution, such as incinerators and factories, have been regulated for years. Now, DEP is focusing on educating the public about the impact of smaller sources – such as open burning – on air quality. Links to the EPA report and several related documents are found below in Technical Articles.

Recycling Information

For information about open burning and recyclable materials, please visit Pennsylvania’s Recycling Page for a fact sheet on Proper Management of Recyclable Materials (PDF). For help with your questions about recyclables and composting, this page includes lists of the DEP Regional Recycling Coordinators and local County Recycling Coordinators.

DEP Publications

Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers – Fact Sheet
An introduction to the operation, issues involved, and regulatory approaches for the homeowner interested in these devices.

Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers Model Ordinance
This model ordinance can be used by local governments in establishing an Outdoor Wood-Fired Boiler ordinance

Open Burning Model Ordinance
This model ordinance can be used by local governments in establishing an open burning ordinance.

Air Pollution from Household Open Burning in Pennsylvania – Fact Sheet
Information and frequently asked questions for homeowners.

Application For Open Burning Exception For Fire Fighting Instruction
This application provides the DEP with the necessary information to review and approve requests for open burning exceptions for the purpose of fire fighting instruction by emergency service organizations. (6/05)

Environmental Impacts from Woodstoves and Fireplaces – Fact Sheet
Information and frequently asked questions for homeowners.

Technical Articles

Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-dioxins and Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans
Read about the emissions of these toxics from the open burning of household waste in barrels.

PCDD/F Emissions
Emissions from uncontrolled, domestic waste burning. (PDF)

Open Burning of Household Waste
Evaluation of Emissions from the Open Burning of Household Waste in Barrels: Volume 1. Technical Report (PDF)

EIIP (Emission Inventory Improvement Program) Document Series Volume III Chapter 16
This chapter is one of a series of documents developed to provide cost-effective, reliable and consistent approaches to estimating emissions for area source inventories. (PDF) 

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