COLUMBUS, Ohio-Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials, armed with a new scrap tire abatement law, plan to attack two of the five largest tire dumps in the state. On June 6, officials ordered Regenesis Inc. to remove an estimated 4 million tires stored at its site in Norton, Ohio, and told Leo Seelig to clear out the estimated 1 million tires on his Springfield, Ohio, property within 120 days.
If the tires are not removed by the deadline, the EPA said it will use the state's scrap tire management fund to conduct its own cleanup and pursue legal action to recover the costs from the property owners.
The EPA is operating under new rules, which went into effect in March, that establish a $10 million fund over a five-year period for cleanup actions at scrap tire dumps. The new law also allows the EPA to order the cleanup of tires if a site poses a threat to public health, safety and/or the environment.
The Regenesis site, considered the state's fourth-largest scrap tire stockpile, has several tire piles of varying sizes, with the largest extending over an acre. The company began collecting tires on the property in 1989 but was cited in 1991, 1992 and 1993 by EPA and city officials for multiple violations of state fire code and tire disposal regulations.
The Springfield site, the fifth-largest, consists of one continuous pile covering about 2.8 acres. The tires were collected from 1960 to 1987 and the local health department declared the site a public health nuisance in 1991.
The EPA targeted these sites first, citing the heavily populated area near the Norton dump and the location of the Springfield pile near a river, which poses a public health threat should a tire fire occur and produce oily runoff, according to an EPA spokeswoman.
The owners of the state's largest tire dump, in Kirby, Ohio, are drawing up plans to bring the site into compliance, the spokeswoman said. The next two largest sites are in Portage County and the EPA said it needs more information on these sites before pursuing action.