According to the EPA, there are an estimated 5,000 tons of solid waste and construction and demolition debris, plus about 1,500 scrap tires, along about 250 feet of the Ainsley Road dump, and some piles stretch 25 feet high and some waste is in Pine Creek.
The approximately $182,000 cleanup of the solid waste at the Ainsley Road dump is made possible with funding from Ohio’s Environmental Protection Remediation Fund (EPRF). The EPRF has been used recently to make repairs at a few other sites in Ohio, including the abandoned Scioto Sanitation Landfill in Wheelersburg and two closed landfills in Cuyahoga and Stark counties. The Ainsley Road site is the first open dump to be cleaned up using this fund.
“There is a $50,000 lien on each of eight lots,” Strouse said. “It’s called the Park Plan Subdivision, and I have been told that between 1970 and 1996, an estimated 5,000 tons of mixed solid waste, scrap tires, construction and demolition debris were illegally dumped on the eight lots of the Park Plan Subdivision, and in 2000 Scioto County Common Pleas Court issued a consent order against several members of the Kerns family.”
In 2000, the Scioto County Common Pleas Court had ordered Judy Dixon, Charles Kerns, Tex Kerns and Griffith Kerns to immediately begin removing all construction and demolition debris, solid waste and scrap tires from that area, known in the court document as Kerns’ Dump. Those defendants agreed at the time to remove and lawfully dispose of four tons of construction and demolition debris, solid waste and scrap tires from that dump every month.
“They were to do that and to continue to do that until all of the waste was removed,” Erin Strouse, media relations coordinator for the Ohio EPA, said. “But, obviously it’s now 10 years later and that has not taken place. So we’re going to get that taken care of.”
Strouse said the enforcement in this case has been exhausted, and has been referred to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. “There is just not the financial means for the responsible parties to take care of the issue,” Strouse said.
Strouse said one of the main concerns was the debris affecting Pine Creek.
Strouse said another landowner in that area has taken care of their part of the problem.
“We do have one responsible property owner there, Eddie Blair, who did own a parcel of land in that area a number of years ago, and we really appreciate his efforts. He did clean it up, and he did a really nice job,” Strouse said. “We just wanted to use that opportunity to say that not all of the property owners there are in the same position. Mr. Blair has been real cooperative.”
A spokeswoman in the office of E.E. Construction, owned by Blair, said Blair had to pay for the cleanup themselves, to the tune of about $24,000.
“Scrap tires are a big concern for Ohio EPA, especially in southeast Ohio where we have a number of these illegal tire dumps,” Strouse said. “We’re really trying to spread the word that folks need to know that we want to hear from them. If they see a dump and can report it to us, we have a program that allows for up to 2,000 scrap tires to be removed free of charge to the landowner.”
The removal and processing of the scrap tires at the Ainsley Road dump will cost about $3,000, made possible with funding from Ohio’s Scrap Tire Management Fund. This fund is comprised of a $1 fee collected on new tires sold in Ohio. Ohio EPA’s Scrap Tire Management Program oversees the state-financed cleanup of tire piles in Ohio that pose the most significant threats to human health, public safety and the environment. If not properly managed, scrap tire piles may harbor rats and become a prime breeding ground for dangerous disease-carrying mosquitoes. Tire dumps also can spawn dangerous fires that produce noxious smoke and oils.
Strouse was quick to warn that it is not the habit of the EPA to carry the burden of financially handling the issues of cleaning up illegal dump sites.
“We do go after open dumpers,” Strouse said. “And we do pursue to the fullest extent of the law the settlements such as this. Unfortunately, it has reached the point of being exhausted. We want people to know they just can’t get away with it. We do everything that the law allows us to.”
Since scrap tires often include a mixture of passenger tires and tractor trailer tires, Ohio EPA calculates cleanups in terms of passenger tire equivalents (PTEs). A tractor trailer tire weighs about 100 pounds (five times more than a passenger tire).
Since 1998, Ohio EPA has helped clean up approximately 4.3 million PTEs in Southeast Ohio and 38 million PTEs across the state at a cost of nearly $51 million. Each year, more than 12 million scrap tires (19.2 million PTEs) are generated in Ohio. While many of these tires are recycled (an estimated 84 percent) or otherwise properly disposed, some end up in stockpiles or in illegal dumps. An estimated two million scrap tires (3.2 million PTEs) remain in illegal dumps in Ohio.
Scrap tires can be properly disposed and/or recycled in Ohio at the licensed facilities listed at www.epa.ohio.gov
If a landowner fails to remove scrap tires at larger sites, Ohio EPA can hire a contractor to remove the tires, and the owner will be required to reimburse the Agency’s costs. For sites with 100 to 2,000 scrap tires, Ohio EPA’s Scrap Tire Management Program invites eligible landowners to voluntarily participate in a Consensual Scrap Tire Removal Agreement. As part of this agreement, the state undertakes the collection, removal and proper disposal of up to 2,000 scrap tires of any size and other solid wastes at a property at no cost to the property owner. Ohio EPA hires contractors and often partners with local health departments to clean up the tires. Participating landowners sign an agreement, stating that they either inherited the property with scrap tires on it or were the victim of open dumping.
Ohio EPA says it encourages citizens to call their local health department, Ohio EPA district office or Ohio EPA toll free at (877) 372-2621 to report locations of scrap tire dumps. Ohio EPA’s Southeast District Office in Logan can be reached at (740) 385-8501 or (800) 686-7330.
Inspectors can cite scrap tire violations such as open dumping of solid waste, improper storage of scrap tires and failure to provide mosquito control. State regulations also limit the height and width of tire piles and require wide fire lanes between piles to make firefighting easier and to keep fire from spreading to other tire piles.
For more information about Ohio EPA’s Scrap Tire Cleanup Program: www.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org