The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Air Pollution Control, open burning rules include an exception for anyone conducting open burning of materials resulting only from a natural disaster, subject to certain conditions. The recent weather/natural disaster event in your area may qualify under the open burning exception. If a government decides to propose a collective burn site to dispose of debris from the natural disaster, please visit Guidelines for Open Burning Natural Disaster Debris for further information and instructions. Especially note that any governmental collective burn site requires a 3-day advance notice to the appropriate regional Environmental Field Office prior to commencing the burn.
Please note that open burning conducted under this exception is only allowed where no other safe and/or practical means of disposal is available. The alternative use of chippers and grinders, landfilling, or on-site burial of waste in lieu of burning, if lawful, is encouraged for everyone. If, after careful consideration of alternative disposal methods, a government decides to burn natural disaster debris, the Division recommends proposing collective burn site locations that will have minimal impact on public health and safety. For example, stay away from and downwind of homes and congested areas, schools, hospitals, highways, etc.
Upon receipt of a three-day advance notification, Air Pollution Control personnel will request the information specified below. This information will be used not only for the Division’s records but also for reporting purposes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Person responsible for proposed burning and their address/phone/email
- Site contact person for proposed burning and their address/phone/email
- Specific address of burn site (Map and Parcel numbers if no 911 address is available)
- Coordinates of burn site (Latitude/Longitude)
- Projected start date of burn
- Projected end date of burn
- Description of material to be burned
Division personnel will contact the government entity to schedule a site visit to the proposed location before burning is commenced. The inspector will evaluate the site’s suitability based on the requirements of TAPCR 1200-03-04.04 (l) and T.C.A. §68-201-115 (c) and respond in writing for your records. If the location is unsuitable, the Division will evaluate any proposed alternate sites for suitability.
Additional approval processes may be required by other Divisions of TDEC, including, but not limited to, the Division of Water Resources and the Division of Solid Waste Management. To help ensure that all applicable TDEC regulations are met, governments should contact these Divisions prior to beginning any operations at a collective site.