BAYONNE, N.J.—A Bayonne tire recycler that recently shut down its operations is questioning New Jersey's dedication to ridding itself of scrap tires.
Integrated Tire of New Jersey Inc. processed about 2 million scrap tires over the past six years. The company, the largest of three licensed processors in the state, closed because of financial problems and pressure from the local fire department, said Claudia Sandoval, a consultant for the company.
The state could have helped bail out the troubled firm but didn't bother to visit the site, she said.
"The state doesn't want this story to come out," Ms. Sandoval said. "They didn't push the envelope. What kind of message does this leave? How concerned is the state about scrap tires?"
The company racked up numerous enforcement violations during its run, including improperly storing scrap tires, said Robin Heston, a principal environmental specialist for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
"We worked with them as much as we could," Ms. Heston said. "Their problem was that they weren't doing what they were supposed to do. It wasn't just one or two minor violations here and there."
Inspectors repeatedly warned Integrated Tire that it wasn't complying with its site plan. The firm often had too many whole and processed tires at the site and stored them where they weren't supposed to, Ms. Heston said. Bayonne fire officials were worried about a fire starting at the site.
"They were advised to clean up and get rid of their excess stuff, but they were not closed down," a Fire Department spokesman said.
The company isn't placing all the blame on the state. It collected more tires than the area's end market could handle, and its average tipping fee of $35 per ton brought in too little money, Ms. Sandoval said.
But the state did take responsibility, Ms. Heston said. It compromised with the company a number of times, including easing back on requiring that Integrated Tire have a long-term lease at its facility. DEP officials also tried to arrange a meeting at the site with local fire officials to work something out. But the company decided to shut down instead.
The state should have offered more assistance to the troubled firm, said Ms. Sandoval, who works with a similar, but successful operation in Buffalo, N.Y. "The government's not going to turn their back on the industry in New York," she said. "In New Jersey, they did."