Pennsylvania DEP awards tire pile cleanup to Entech — 300,000 slated for disposal

The last of 6 million tires that once marred a Columbia County property and threatened surrounding communities will be removed by this fall under a contract awarded recently by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Waste tire piles have plagued states for decades.

Entech, Inc. will process and remove the last 300,000 tires from the Starr property in Greenwood Township. The company worked at the site in 2007, having processed and removed approximately 1 million tires for beneficial reuse.

The $447,000 contract requires Entech to remove the remaining tires from Area C of the Starr tire pile, as well as a few hundred heavy equipment tires elsewhere on the property. The work began in May to prepare Area C and the tires for processing and removal.

The tires are scheduled to be processed on-site beginning in early July. Entech, of White Pigeon, Michigan, will use a shredder to cut each tire into 6- to 12-inch pieces. The pieces will then be transported via tractor-trailers to various locations for beneficial reuse.

The tires should be removed and the site re-vegetated by the end of September.

Last October, McGinty announced that North East and Central Rail Transportation LLC was the apparent low bidder for the tire removal, but the company was unable to fulfill the contractual requirements.

In 1987, the commonwealth issued an administrative order requiring the property owners, Max and Martha Starr, to stop accepting tires and provide an estimate of the number of tires at the site. After subsequent orders and appeals by the owners, the Starrs and DEP finalized terms of a legal agreement in March 2004 to clean up the 6 million tires that accumulated on the property.

Aside from a $400,000 civil penalty for failing to remove the waste tires, the Starrs also had to relinquish operational control of the pile to DEP, but maintain liability insurance. Once all tires have been removed, the Starrs must sell the properties and give the proceeds to DEP.