The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has renewed August Mack Environmental Inc.'s contract for environmental remediation at the Kirby's Tire Recycling scrap tire site near Sycamore.
The $837,000 contract, which began July 1 and runs until June 30, 2005, calls on August Mack to continue the groundwater treatment and soil remediation it began with the first contract it won in 2001. It calls for the company to treat about 2 million gallons of water annually and treat about 750 tons of impacted soil, all residuals from a massive, deliberately set fire at the site in August 1999.
Although the local fire department and the EPA acted quickly to contain the fire by mid-September of that year, the blaze still scorched about 18 acres of the 140-acre site, according to Bob Large, who heads scrap tire operations at the Ohio EPA. The runoff from the fire is an ongoing environmental problem, as is removal of the massive amounts of earth and clay the EPA used to bury the conflagration, Large said.
The Kirby tire pile was begun in the 1950s by the late Nobel Kirby, founder of Kirby's Tire Recycling. In 1998, the EPA ordered Kirby's family to begin cleaning up the site, which held an estimated 30 million to 50 million tires. The agency undertook the cleanup itself when the Kirbys failed to do so.
After five years, about an estimated 9 million tires still remain. "It's a huge site," said Scott Mounts, manager of August Mack's Ohio office. "The first time I went into it, I got lost."
Large estimates it will take four to five years to complete the cleanup at the Kirby site.