SOCORRO, N.M. (May 15, 2012)—The New Mexico Environment Department has settled a nine-year-old administrative compliance order against Southwest Tire Processors Inc. and its operators, Jeanne M. Romero Gacanich and Moises Romero.
The settlement included payment of $119,229 civil penalty, the agency said.
Southwest Tire Processors suffered a major fire at its facility near Socorro in June 2000, according to the NMED. Responding to the blaze, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversaw partial extinguishment of the fire by burying the burning tires, it said.
Despite the EPA action, hot spots and flare-ups continued for several years underground, the NMED said. It did not estimate how many tires were on the site.
In 2003, the NMED issued its compliance order against Southwest Tire Processors. The agency alleged serious operational, safety and permit-related violations against the company, including storage of an excessive number of scrap tires and unsafe storage of scrap tires, baled tires and processed rubber near or underneath electrical power lines.
Besides the civil penalty, the settlement includes site abatement through installation of an engineered cover, similar to the cover on a closed landfill, NMED said.