MOUNT STERLING, Ohio—This is no time to get complacent about scrap tire recycling, an official with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency advised tire dealers. Dealers need to keep a watchful eye on who is hauling away their discarded tires and where that scrap is ending up, said Carolyn Watkins, who heads the Ohio EPA's scrap tire regulatory program.
Watkins recently gave Ohio dealers an update on the state's current $10 million cleanup efforts. Her review—presented at the annual Ohio Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association convention and trade show held near Mount Sterling—offered advice on how to find trustworthy haulers and how to store scrap tires.
Although scrap tire recycling in Ohio lags behind the national average, the state EPA has made real progress in the past few years, Watkins said.
The state, which regulates scrap and used tires, is well into the first round of getting scrap tire facilities permitted. Tire dealers must stay within their storage exemption, Watkins cautioned. Otherwise, they have to register with the EPA as a licensed storage site.
Inside storage is allowed, she said, but scrap tires must be secured in a building or a covered, enclosed trailer or installation only at a dealer's retail location. The EPA does allow a single outside storage facility at a retail site, but it must be no larger than 2,500 square feet and maintain fire lanes and mosquito control.
The EPA is in the final stages of approval for scrap tire haulers, while an appeal process is under way for some who have been denied permits.
Due to tighter controls, Watkins said the state can account for 9 million of the 12 million scrap tires annually generated within its borders. It has more than 92 registered transporters operating 1,200 collection vehicles.
Of the scrap tires it has taken out of circulation—86 percent of which came from within Ohio—almost 40 percent went to recovery facilities, while 38 percent went to the state's two monofills.
Ohio's biggest scrap tire recycling market is for granulated rubber that substitutes for gravel in landfills, according to Watkins.
In order to drive recycling and ``level the playing field,'' she said, Ohio bans shredded tires in landfills. While the use of scrap tires to feed cement kilns is an accepted practice in a number of states, there hasn't been much interest yet in that approach in Ohio.
According to records, Ohio has registered or permitted 24 scrap tire facilities and exempted two bias-ply tire sites. It has eight existing sites, including five new ones, and 39 potential facilities.
Before and during 1996, the state EPA oversaw cleanup of eight scrap tire dumps containing more than 2.2 million tires.
In 1997, it completed three cleanups totaling 390,000 tires. Since then, its efforts have improved, Watkins said, with three more—amounting to about 5.4 million scrap tires—begun in 1997 and expected to be completed this year.
The EPA has seven sites containing a total of 6 million tires targeted in 1999.
Ohio recycled 65 percent of its scrap tires last year, compared with a nationwide rate of about 85 percent, she said.
Fifty cents is levied on every new tire, sized 12 inches and above, that is sold in the state. Agricultural tires are exempt. That fee annually generates $3.5 million, which goes to clean up scrap tire dumps. The fee is due to expire in two years, Watkins said, but the Ohio EPA expects it will need to be extended.