Illinois Ag News reports that recently Illinois EPA completed a forced used tire removal action at A & V Tire Recycling, located at 739 East 217th Street in Chicago Heights, an Environmental Justice area in Cook County. Illinois EPA has authority under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to carry out forced removals when an accumulation of used or waste tires poses a threat to public health or the environment. The forced removal action, completed in cooperation with the Cook County Department of Environment and Sustainability, began on November 14 and was completed on November 26, 2019. A total of 1,244.85 tons of used/waste tires (the equivalent of 110,650 passenger tires) were removed from the property at a cost of $541,121.27.
"Improperly stored waste tires are a fire hazard and can serve as a breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes, creating environmental and public health threats," said EPA Director John J. Kim. "The Illinois EPA will continue to regulate the proper storage and management of used tires in Illinois and will continue to conduct forced removal action when used or waste tires threaten residents and our environment."
The site's operators, Wilmer Cruz and Victor Ramires, and the site owner, ROLLCO Inc., allowed the accumulation of used or waste tires at the site in anticipation of operating a commercial used tire processing facility. However, no permit application was filed with the Illinois EPA and the owner and operators did not respond to a Violation Notice issued by Illinois EPA. The Illinois EPA issued a removal notice pursuant to Section 55.3(d) of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to the site owner and operators providing them the opportunity to undertake the necessary corrective action prior to the Illinois EPA conducting the forced removal. In addition to conducting the forced removal action the Illinois EPA may seek to recover costs associated with the forced removal.
Although the owner and operators did not respond to the removal notice issued by Illinois EPA, the property owner did voluntarily sign a Consent for Access to Real Property, allowing the Illinois EPA voluntary access to the property to conduct the forced removal action. This is the second forced removal action completed by Illinois EPA in the past two years. In 2018, the Illinois EPA completed a forced removal of more than 4,600 tons of waste tires at S.T.A.R. Used Tire Disposal in Rockford.