ANDERSON – The state is stepping in after the owners of Green Tire Reclamation abandoned the business with nearly 200,000 shredded tires still on the property.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management estimates that a full cleanup of the property at 2506 Fairview Street will not exceed a cost of $262,500 and will take about a year.
Removing the waste tires, cut into 2-inch chunks and stacked in massive piles, will be paid for from the Waste Tire Fund, accumulated through a 25-cent tax on new tires.
It's not unusual for waste tire processors to abandon a site, according to IDEM.
"It seems to happen more in this business sector than others,” said Barry Sneed, a spokesman for IDEM. “Unfortunately, it takes time to work through the paperwork, then provide the party adequate time to respond and allow the legal process do its work.”
The former owner, Dan McKenzie, did not return several calls to a number listed for the business.
The state agency first instructed McKenzie to clean up the waste tires July 5, 2016. So far, only 6 percent of the tires have been removed, according to IDEM, and the property appears abandoned.
“The most common concern about waste tires is if they are whole and accumulate water. They become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and homes for rodents,” Sneed said. “The other concern about waste tire sites is if they catch fire. Tire fires are very hard to put out and generate a thick, black smoke that would impact local air quality.”
When the business was opened in 2012, Green Tire Reclamation was allowed to store 5,000 waste tires on the property and keep shredded tires, referred to as tire derived aggregate, according to IDEM documents, until it was sold as either fuel to be burned alongside coal in power plants or as back-fill for construction or for septic systems.
But by March 2014, owner Dan McKenzie said he was unable to find a market within the state for the tires, and IDEM reclassified the shredded tires as waste because they hadn’t been moved or sold.
That effectively meant the company was 50 times over the allowed limit of stored waste tires on its property.
In order to legally store that volume of tires, Green Tire Reclamation would have to buy a bond to cover possible closing costs. The bond would amount to $2 per tire or tire equivalent, pushing the company’s bond from the current $10,000 to more than $500,000, McKenzie previously told the Herald Bulletin.
“We would never have gone into the business if that product would be classified as waste tires,” McKenzie previously said.
Everybody Wins LLC., an Indianapolis-based property management group, recently purchased the property in a tax sale, which spokeswoman Lori Rawlins said was an accident.
“We purchased it thinking it was a different property,” Rawlins said. “The company name is Everybody Wins, but in this case everybody doesn’t win.”
Though legally Everybody Wins should be responsible for the cleanup, because they are the current property owner, Sneed said IDEM will not hold the compnay financially responsible because it didn’t produce the waste.
McKenzie previously said his plan was to keep tires out of landfills, and his company won an Emerging Business of the Year Award from the Madison County Chamber of Commerce for his efforts.
But now, the tires will be going to a landfill, after all.