|The Elm Street Extension transfer station used for burning brush collected by the village of Richfield Springs will no longer be the site for burning, following the recent disapprovel of a restricted burning permit for 2008. The state DEC is in the process of expanding on current regulations prohibiting the burning of trash and refuse in an effort to control the amount of toxins released into the environment. (Photo by Janine Giordano)|
As further efforts are taken at a state level to minimize air pollutants released into the environment through burning refuse, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has disapproved the village of Richfield Springs Restricted Burning Permit application for 2008.
As a result, a snow fence has gone up around the Elm Street transfer site and all plans for the collection of brush have been discontinued for now, according to Mayor John Garbera.
“They don’t give you anything to go with when the state comes down with something. You have to come up with what to do,” Garbera said.
According to Rick Georgeson, a spokesperson for the DEC, regulations on open burning have not been finalized yet. Public comments will be accepted and considered before the final regulation is approved.
“This is a public health issue, primarily,” Georgeson said. “The nature of the waste stream has changed over the last 20 to 50 years.”
As a result, hazardous chemicals are released into the air, especially with burning plastics. “These chemicals settle on farm fields in the rural areas,” Georgeson said. “The dairy cows eat it and it gets into the milk.”
The town of Richfield does not offer brush collecting services to its residents, according to Town Clerk Monica Harris.
The village of West Winfield has the refuse picked up by Wheelock, according to Elmer Perkins, assistant village clerk. He thinks they bring the refuse to the Herkimer County transfer site.
Some of the toxins released into the air as a result of burning refuse includes dioxins, furans, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and heavy metals such as lead, barium, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and mercury.
The village board is considering alternatives to burning, such as purchasing a grinder or chipper. “But until then, we can’t collect anymore. They can’t bring it in if we can’t get rid of it,” Garbera said.
“Municipalities can apply to a grant program provided through the DEC that will pay 50 percent of the cost of a chipper or other type of recycling equipment,” Georgeson said.
A grinder would provide a byproduct of mulch, which residents could use, he pointed out. “I don’t know if we would charge to bring in the brush or what,” Garbera said.
“This is just another hurdle we have to jump,” he said. “We’ll take care of this, too.”