Dismantling Pennsylvania’s Largest Tire Pile To Cost Millions
The Pennsylvania government has awarded two grants totalling $1.3 million to fund projects that will clean up the state’s largest waste tire pile and create markets for the use of more than six million tires now located at a dump site in Greenwood Township, Columbia County.
“Today marks the beginning of a new era at the Starr Tire Pile,” Secretary Kathleen McGinty said during an awards ceremony at the site last week. “The waste tires that have been accumulating on this site over the years will be removed.”
“We began last year by forcing dozens of companies and individuals who dumped tens of thousands of tires there to begin removing them. The work will continue on a larger scale with these grants,” McGinty said. “We are moving closer to eliminating this environmental and health hazard while creating jobs and spurring economic growth in Columbia County.”
The General Assembly appropriated $6.8 million in the 2004-05 budget to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the cleanup of scrap tires, including $2 million secured by the local state senator and representative specifically for work at the Starr Tire Pile.
The grants are part of the Starr Waste Tire Reuse Grant Program, which was launched last January. The DEP received 10 applications for the funding, and these are the first two grants to be awarded.
The Recycling Environmental Group from Bloomsburg received a $999,948 grant for a 12 month project that will process about one million tires into two to four inch shreds. The shreds will be processed further into crumb rubber at the company’s Bloomsburg facility, which will use the rubber to produce other usable and marketable products.
Carbon Services Corp., located in Lehighton, received $299,970 to remove about 2,000 large tires from the site. The tires, which are not suitable for conventional processing because each one can weigh more than half a ton, will be prepped in Philadelphia and deployed as a new artificial reef habitat in the Atlantic Ocean.
The two projects are expected to create a combined 15 full time jobs and generate economic development within the Commonwealth.
The DEP finalized terms of a legal agreement with Max and Martha Starr in March 2004 to clean up more than six million tires that accumulated at the property in tn the mid 1980s.
In addition to a $400,000 civil penalty for failing to remove waste tires from their property, the Starrs had to relinquish operational control of the pile to the DEP but maintain liability insurance.
The DEP already has contacted more than 40 businesses that sent tires to the property to request removal. Twenty-one tire generators have refused to remove waste tires taken from their businesses years ago to the Starr tire pile. On January 26, DEP filed a Complaint In Equity in Columbia County Court to require each generator to remove its share of waste tires.
Seven of the 21 generators have removed a total of 24,700 tires from the site and DEP’s Northcentral Regional Office’s Waste Management Program is negotiating agreements with three additional tire generators. The action could bring a civil penalty of $100 per day against any generator who fails to comply with the court’s order.
The DEP, with legislative support, has been seeking ways to hasten the removal of millions of waste tires in Pennsylvania.
Processed tires can be used for high value products, including mats, playground surfaces or carpet underlayments. Tires also can be used for fuel or civil engineering projects such as lightweight backfill for walls and bridge abutments or for approved on-lot septic system installations. Whole tires can be used for erosion control, crash barriers and artificial reefs.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.