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September 2003

Illegally Stored Waste Tires Burn; Arson Suspected

Muncie, IN— The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) represented by Indiana Attorney General Stephen Carter, successfully petitioned the Delaware Circuit Court for a temporary restraining order to keep the site of the CR3 tire fire secure, pending other court action against the company.
IDEM is asking the court to order CR3 to, among other actions, immediately dispose of all waste tires on and off site of the property, reimburse costs incurred from fighting the fire and pay fines.

The court action comes six days after piles of whole and processed waste tires illegally stored at the facility burned, possibly as a result of arson. The fire, which placed human health and the environment in immediate danger, continues to smolder. IDEM has not yet determined the amount of fines it will seek. CR3 faces maximum fines of up to $25,000 a day per violation.

CR3 has a history of compliance issues noted by IDEM dating back to 2001. Despite repeated attempts by IDEM to work with the company to remove the excess tires and tire waste, CR3 owners refused to comply with state laws.

IDEM Commissioner Lori F. Kaplan said IDEM is hoping to encourage the development of a market that could use waste tires rather than landfilling waste tires, or worse, seeing a resurgence in abandoned tire piles.

“Hoosiers produce an average of six million waste tires a year, and we once considered CR3 a valuable part of our effort to address this important issue - it was the only facility in the state that had the capability to turn waste tires into crumb rubber,” Kaplan said. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost this resource.”

At the time of the fire, IDEM was in the process of enforcing violations at CR3 for its continued storage and illegal dumping violations. Kaplan asked for court action rather than continuing with IDEM’s administrative process based on CR3’s pattern of non-compliance, the need to protect the integrity of the site for continued investigation, and a quicker response time than available through the administrative law process. IDEM continues to investigate allegations of additional violations related to CR3.

“From what we’ve observed, if left as it is, this site poses a significant threat to human health and the environment,” said Kaplan. “The residents of Delaware County deserve peace of mind and quick, decisive action by the court.”

 


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