NJ DEP completes clean up of tire piles

Working closely with its partners at the county level, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is spearheading the removal of hundreds of thousands of tires from the largest tire dumps in the state, all of them in South Jersey, commissioner Bob Martin said.

“At one time, tire dumps, some comprised of what seemed to be endless hills of rolling rubber, scarred many parts of New Jersey’s landscape, especially in South Jersey,” Commissioner Martin said. “Throughout the years, millions of tires have been removed and tire dumps cleaned up.”

South Jersey had a larger share of illegal tire dumps due to the region’s remoteness and availability of large tracts of undeveloped land. The dumps typically popped up decades ago around scrap yards.

Under the initiative begun in 2009, the DEP provided Atlantic, Burlington County, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties with project grants through its shared agreements under the County Environmental Health Act. The counties issued clean up contracts.

The property owners lacked funds to do the work, failed to comply with clean up orders, or have abandoned the property. The counties have made arrangements to recoup the expenditures through proceeds from any future sales of the properties. The DEP has requested the counties to use any recovered money on future solid-waste clean up programs.

The following clean up projects are under way or have been completed:

  • The Salem County Improvement Authority oversaw the removal of an estimated 200,000 tires at the 23 acre Gates Tire Recycling, Inc. property, located along County Route 620 in rural Mannington Township. The DEP reimbursed the county $200,000 for this clean up. Contractor Magnus Environmental Corp. shredded the tires at its Wilmington, Delaware, facility for use at the Salem County Landfill. This project was completed last year.
  • Using $50,000 allocated by the DEP, the Atlantic County Division of Public Health is removing the remaining 20,000 tires as well as tire chips from the former Perona Scrap Yard on Columbia Road in Mullica Township, located within the ecologically sensitive Pinelands National Reserve. Some 216,000 tires had been removed from this site in 2006. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the month.