Illegal Dumping and Burning

Solid Waste Dumping

It is illegal to dump household garbage, construction and demolition debris, tires, appliances, recyclables, or other solid waste on private or public property in any municipality in Oneida and Herkimer Counties.

Illegal Dumping & Burning Brochure

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Solid Waste Burning

It is illegal to burn the following material in Oneida and Herkimer Counties:

  • Household Garbage
  • Recyclables
  • Construction and demolition debris material
  • Trash (ie. sofa, furniture, mattresses, carpet)
  • Commercial and Industrial Waste

Burn barrels and open burning of solid waste is not permitted in Oneida and Herkimer Counties.

To report illegal dumping or burning, please contact local law enforcement or the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (Region 6) at (315) 785-2239.

Burning Standing Structures (Fire Department Training Only)

An existing standing structure may be burned as part of local Fire Department Training, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The training is done in accordance with all local governments provisions and ordinances.
  2. The training has approval of the local codes officer in the municipality in which the structure is being burned.
  3. The landowner assumes all legal responsibilities while burning the structure.
  4. The County Sheriff's Department has been notified of the date and time the structure will be burned.
  5. The training has the approval of NYSDEC, if structure is located within NYSDEC listed Fire Towns. (See Fire Towns)
  6. Documentation or a letter from the Chief that the Fire Department will provide active training during the burning of the structure, and that the Fire Department will not merely be providing stand-by services.
  7. Structures must be emptied and stripped of any material that is toxic, hazardous or likely to emit toxic smoke (such as asbestos, asphalt shingles, vinyl siding or other vinyl products) prior to burning and must be at least 300 feet from other occupied structures. No more than one structure per lot, or within a 300 foot radius (whichever is bigger) may be burned in a training exercise.
  8. After fire training is complete, any remaining construction and demolition debris from the structure shall be removed from the property and properly disposed of.

Green Waste Management

Green waste is defined as grass clippings, leaves, cutting from shrubs, hedges, trees and garden debris.

The best management practice for this material is to use it onsite: leave grass clippings on the lawn, chip brush, place brush into hedgerows, compost it onsite, or deliver to the Oneida-Herkimer Green Waste Compost Facilities in Utica or Rome.

Burning of green waste is prohibited in:

  1. All incorporated cities and villages.
  2. Towns with "No-Burning" Ordinances and the Town of New Hartford.

If there is no green waste collection service provided by the municipality, burning of green waste may be permitted. Before burning, contact town officials. Also, NYSDEC approval must be obtained for the fire towns of Ohio, Russia, Salisbury, Webb, Forestport, and Remsen.

The prohibition and limitation on burning green waste does not limit safely located, contained outdoor cooking or campfires.

Material that is Not Green Waste

Material that is not considered green waste and may be burned in accordance with local government provisions and ordinances include the following: land clearing debris, orchard and plantation maintenance material, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. Approval of local municipality and fire department.
  2. Approval of NYSDEC within NYSDEC Fire Towns.

New York State Legislature Passes Open Burning Law on October 14, 2009

Burning trash or solid waste is now prohibited in New York State in all cases. With the new State Law, it is now illegal to have an open fire for disposal of trash burning solid waste in a barrel anywhere in New York State. Environmental Conservation Officers will now be able to write violation notices for illegal fires, backyard burning and open burning in barrels.

It is also illegal for farmers to open burn pesticide containers, fertilizer bags, plastic Ag storage bags, feed bags and other plastic or synthetic materials.

Open fire means any outdoor fire or outdoor smoke producing process for which air contaminants are emitted directly into the outdoor atmosphere. Open fires include burning in barrels or modified barrels. Open fires do not include burning in outdoor furnaces or boilers that are used to heat buildings when the devices are actually used for such purpose.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fire Towns

In order to protect the northern forests and woodlands in Oneida and Herkimer Counties, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has designated a number of northern townships as DEC Fire Towns. Residents in DEC Fire Towns are required to obtain a permit from NYS DEC Rangers for any open burning fires except cooking, warmth and camp fires.

Fire Towns

Herkimer County

  • Ohio
  • Russia
  • Salisbury
  • Webb

Oneida County

  • Forestport
  • Remsen

Local Law Enforcement Penalties

In 1990, the Oneida County Board of Legislators and the Herkimer County Legislature passed Local Law # 1 which regulates the disposition of solid waste and recyclables in Oneida and Herkimer Counties. In accordance with the Law, persons are prohibited from burning solid waste.

Section # 11 of Local Law # 1 of 1990 states:
(a) (3) It shall be a violation of this law for any person to bury and/or burn solid waste and/or recyclables on public or private property.

Conviction of a first offense provided by this article shall be punishable by a fine of not less than One Hundred to Five Hundred Dollars ($100.00 - $500.00) and not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), in addition, anyone convicted of a first offense thereunder shall be liable to pay a civil penalty of not less than One Hundred to Five Hundred ($100.00 - $500.00), and not more than Five Hundred Dollars $500.00.

More Information

For more information on solid waste disposal or recycling, you can contact the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority Offices by telephone at (315) 733-1224 or by mail at 1600 Genesee Street Utica, NY 13502.