SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) has approved a $2.9 million plan to remove all unburned tires from the state's largest tire pile near Westley, Calif. Dump owner Ed Filbin is being held responsible for cleanup costs, a CIWMB spokesman said, and has until Dec. 16 to post financial assurance or the board will file a lawsuit.
Lightning had ignited a fire Sept. 22 that burned approximately 1 million of the Filbin tire pile's 7 million tires. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in late October by spraying it with 3 million gallons of water and by burying some of the tires.
The CIWMB's plan calls for an adjacent tires-to-energy plant, run by Modesto Energy Limited Partnership (MELP), to consume 1 million burnable tires—those not contaminated by the fire or firefighting efforts.
The CIWMB approved an allocation of $350,000 to finish the "winterization" of the dump, which is located in a ravine, to contain runoff from firefighting and winter rains.
The next phase involves piping water collected from the dump and discharging it downstream to prevent any residual oil, foam and metals from washing into a nearby creek that flows into the San Joaquin River.
So far, Mr. Filbin's attorney has presented assurance for one-tenth of the cleanup costs, the spokesman said.
But if the dump owner doesn't comply, the board is prepared to use some of its funds for the cleanup and to dip into a $1 million insurance policy left over from another defunct tire recycling operation.