The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is working to clean up illegally or improperly stored tires at six tire processing sites in the state, according to a top IDEM official.
The IDEM also has identified 29 tire dumps in Indiana for urgent remediation, according to the 2003 Waste Tire Report it issued earlier this year. ``There are actually more dumps than that, but those are the 29 we've given top priority,'' said Bruce Palin, IDEM deputy assistant commissioner in its Office of Land Quality.
According to a recent IDEM evaluation, fully one-fifth of the state's 30 waste tire processors operating at the time of the evaluation had illegal storage of tires on their sites. Storage problems varied from site to site, according to Mr. Palin.
``There was whole tire storage outdoors, which they're allowed to have up to 1,000 tires, but they exceeded that limit,'' he said. ``Also, there were some fire concerns-no fire lanes, or large amounts of shredded material for which they didn't seem to have a market.''
Of the six companies, only two-Stewart Recycling of Knox County and Michaelstire Recycling in South Bend-are still in business, Mr. Palin said. The owners of both operations are working with the IDEM to correct the violations, he said.
The other four sites are CR3 of Muncie, Ind., which was destroyed by a tire fire Aug. 2, 2003; Mobile Scrap Tire Processing and Disposal of Lafayette, Ind., a property owned by CSX Railroad, which is working with the IDEM to clean up the site; Wabash Valley Recycling of Terre Haute, Ind., for which the IDEM recently awarded a contract for cleanup; and KMC Waste Tire Co. of Osgood, Ind., for which the department recently won a court order to enter the site for cleanup.
In the past five years, the IDEM has cleaned up more than 5 million illegally dumped tires in Indiana, according to the 2003 Waste Tire Report. Nearly 3.8 million of these were at the old G&M tire site in Atwood, Ind., the report stated.
Mr. Palin couldn't provide an estimate for how many total tires still need to be cleaned up, but he said the IDEM estimates 800,000 passenger tire equivalents (PTEs) at Wabash Valley and 240,000 PTEs at the KMC site.
Created in 1992, the state's Waste Tire Fund-which Mr. Palin said currently contains $3.2 million-is funded through a 25-cent fee on every new tire sold in the state.
The money generated by the fee goes not only to fund waste tire cleanup, but also to award grants to promote the development of waste tire markets, according to the IDEM.
Last March, the IDEM gave more than $276,000 in grants to Indiana schools and universities to fund athletic field, paving and civil engineering projects involving recycled rubber.
The previous November, it invested $300,000 in a project to find new ways to use recycled rubber.