HARLINGEN, Texas—The state of Texas has filed suit against a Harlingen-based tire recycler, seeking a temporary injunction against it for alleged storage, fire safety and unauthorized pyrolysis operations.
The state attorney general's office filed the complaint Feb. 21 on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which found Tire Recycling and Processing L.L.C. in violation of several Texas codes during several successive inspections.
TRP is registered with the TCEQ under the name “Waster Tire Thermal Conversion Plant,” according to the complaint. The facility accepts whole scrap tires for chipping, shredding and processing, and sells pelletized rubber and scrap metal from the tires, it said.
On Feb. 4, 2014, Mark McPherson, a Dallas attorney who represents TRP, informed the TCEQ by letter that the company planned to start pyrolysis operations. TRP had included pyrolysis in its original 2011 application to the agency, but the agency never authorized pyrolysis to be performed at the site, according to the complaint.
“The (pyrolysis) process turns a non-hazardous material, scrap tire, into a hazardous substance, a low-grade oil that may be used as fuel after additional refining,” the complaint said. “Tire pyrolysis facilities also have an inherent risk of fire and explosion if not properly designed, tested, operated and maintained.”
In an inspection Feb. 6, 2014, TCEQ inspectors found 785,000 pounds of scrap tire materials onsite at TRP, or 568,000 pounds more than TRP was authorized to store, the complaint said. They also found the company was not maintaining a 10-foot aisle space between stored tires, as state law requires.
The state seeks a temporary injunction against TRP from engaging in pyrolysis, and also seeks the removal of excess tires and the institution of required storage practices at the site.
A hearing on the temporary injunction is scheduled for March 18 before the District Court of Travis County, Texas, 53rd Judicial District. If the injunction is granted, TRP will be liable for fines of $50 to $25,000 per day for each violation of state rules.
McPherson could not be reached for comment.