LIVERPOOL, Pa.(Aug., 14, 2000)—Mahantango Enterprises Inc. has reopened for business, seven months after a Pennsylvania court ordered the tire recycler to shut down operations until the company complied with state environmental standards.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection refused to renew Mahantango´s operating permit in August 1999, citing safety and sanitation concerns stemming from a 1996 tire fire and a 2.5 million tire stockpile that had grown since the blaze.
Mahantango had been operating on a limited basis until a court-ordered trustee, Richard Parthemer, began partial supervision of its operations.
Mr. Parthemer, a retired businessman, will stay on with the firm until Mahantango meets the fire safety and waste management regulations established by the DEP.
It´s unusual for the DEP to appoint a trustee to oversee improvements, said Keith Kerns, manager of the DEP waste management program.
"The court appointed (Mr. Parthemer) after both sides agreed to him," Mr. Kerns said. "He´s an employee of the facility, but he has to report to us weekly."
The contract called for the immediate implementation of a cleanup plan based on monthly and yearly goals.
"One major priority was to eliminate one super pile in front of the building, and we did," Mr. Parthemer said. "We´ve been refiguring the piles to bring them within the length and width fire trucks" need to maneuver.
Roger Hess, owner and president of the Mahantango plant, still is involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, working in cooperation with Mr. Parthemer, as are Mr. Hess´ two sons and daughter, who continue to work in different facets of the operation. After the 1999 shutdown, Mr. Parthemer said, they did their best to go ahead and keep the place running.
Going forward, Mr. Parthemer said Mahantango will continue processing about 100 tons of tires a day, getting rid of waste efficiently and generating a better public image.
"We´ve already put a playground in behind our office building so we can show the people what we make," he said. "It´s really the difference between night and day already."