News

MOE snuffs out plan to burn wood pile

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

The big wood pile west of Norwich on Norwich Road was to be burned under a special permit issued by the township, but now that the pile is deemed to be waste, the Environmental Protection Act won't allow for burning. FILE PHOTO

The big wood pile west of Norwich on Norwich Road was to be burned under a special permit issued by the township, but now that the pile is deemed to be waste, the Environmental Protection Act won't allow for burning. FILE PHOTO

NORWICH TOWNSHIP - 

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has snuffed out the plan to burn the big wood pile on Norwich Road, west of Norwich.

Since the wood is now considered waste, the Environmental Protection Act dictates it cannot be burned as a means to get rid of the pile. The pile will have to be removed by other means, such as to a landfill.

The issue came up after Norwich Township's Fire Chief Bob Parsons notified various agencies of the township's issuance of a special burn permit that would allow for the pile to be burned in small portions, in tandem with having material trucked away from the property.

In an email to Norwich Township councillors, Parsons said the MOE responded with concerns that the permit would essentially allow the burning of waste, which goes against the Environmental Protection Act (EPA).

Parsons informed township council that previously when the MOE was asked for an opinion on the wood being brought to the property, it was not classified by them as waste because it was being processed into other end use products at that time. Once the production of this wood ceased and there was no other end use for the wood, the pile of wood then became "woodwaste" as defined in the EPA.

Although the township was within its right to issue a special permit for the property, it contravenes the other provincial law, so the township rescinded the special permit it issued at its Jan. 14 council meeting.

“And so the position of the MOE is essentially similar to council, except rather than a portion of the pile being removed they expect the lion's share to be removed,” Parsons' email stated.

Parsons said the bottom line is the property owner cannot burn the wood, except for a small portion that is natural vegetation, such as stumps and limbs.

No time frame was given for when the pile has to be removed.

The field officer and the media contact at the MOE's southwest region office did not respond to messages by deadline.

In a Norwich Gazette article dated October 2011, it was reported the wood was being used for a green energy initiative that saw recycling centres crush wood, which would otherwise be going to the landfill, into three-inch chips for fuel source. The chips were then to be sold to green houses for heating or to other companies to be further broken down into wood stove pellets. A by-product of the crushed wood was shavings that were sold for animal bedding.


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