Image: Delaware Online

Since 2017, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) requires businesses to hold a permit for accumulation of 100 and more blown-up, torn, flat or worn-out tires; the rules were introduced more than 10 years ago since the General Assembly’s order.

Sen. Gerald Hocker expressed his shock as for the long duration of the process of the law adoption, as reported by Delaware Online. He said that constituents frequently complained about tire dealers who have such massive piles.

It has been a real challenge for Delaware authorities to resolve the scrap tire problem. According to official estimations, more than 750,000 scrap tires are generated annually. This waste is normally either burnt or recycled, but the prevailing number of scrap tire piles is dispersed throughout the state – these piles bring high risks of fire, or simply serve as a breeding place for mosquitos.

In 2006, a bill offering two-pronged solution was approved by the Legislature. To financially support a plan that helps private landowners clearing big piles of scrap tires, the Scrap Tire Removal Program, one of the solutions, introduced a $2 fee for each tire sold in the state. So far, 25,000 tons of scrap tires from 160 Delaware locations, predominantly in Sussex County, have been removed and sent for further recycling.

The legislature provided instruction to DNREC to create regulations for industries working with scrap tires – a step to prevent tires from being stored at the backwoods, empty lots in Delaware and recycle tons of precious material. It took eleven years and two governors to let that fragment of the legislature push forward; these delays are largely attributed by officials to scarcity of additional sponsorship and staffing required by the bill.

Marjorie Crofts, director of DNREC’s sector of waste and hazardous substances, admits that the process has gone too long, but DNREC is able to get the required sponsorship for the plan’s advancement. An annual permit fee is now set for tire repair businesses, auto dealerships and all other scrap tire generators that collect more than 100 tires annually. The fee is ranging between $50 and $350, considering how large the tire pile is and how tires are stored.

To fight threat of fires and regulate dangers coming from mosquitos, DNREC requires these companies to hand in information as for their scrap tire facilities and provide a proof that the tires are kept in a sanctioned disposal place or any other suitable premises.

Nevertheless, two issues persist. The officials are still ignorant as for the quantity of firms that keep such tire piles. Secondly, the prevailing number of firms have no idea that this new legislature was introduced.

At least four letters have been sent by DNREC to 1,600 firms that could be potentially targeted by the new law that came into effect in March. Currently, less than 100 businesses sent their response. One fourth of those enterprises, including five Walmarts have so far submitted applications for permits.

According to Karen J’Anthony, chairing DNREC’s Scrap Tire Management Program, full-time and one-part time inspectors will be required to cooperate with businesses to control what firms will be exempted and what firms are not obeying the law.

She asserted that these inspectors will be giving notifications regarding new laws to all the firms, handing them with permit applications. After that, enforcement will be escalated, it will commence with a notice of violation and, reportedly, fines will be introduced.

Paul Campanella, an owner of two auto repair firms in New Castle County, said that normally contractor comes and disposes of the scrap tires generated by Paul’s shops. The business person can relate to the state’s need for control, however he is frustrated that he will have to face additional laws that require paying extra cash on top of the $2 fee that businesses already provide.

Another person, who expressed frustration, was Frank Furr, who lately sold Furr’s Tire Service in Dover to his son. However, he looks at the issue from a different perspective. Furr is a rare business owner, who is complying with new rules, and he has paid a $50 notification fee to keep tires in enclosed trailers. He finds it unfair that he did everything according to the new law, but “1,500 guys are out there getting by”.

State Sen. Harris McDowell, D-Wilmington, expressed his disappointment as for the longlines of the process of creation of the permitting system by that DNREC, though he admitted that the issue with scrap tires is very tricky. This idea was shared by Hocker and he asserted DNREC should have voiced any issues that it had with the 2006 legislation earlier, but not now, when more than a decade passed. He suggested that the Delaware officials should have principally collaborated with the committees in both houses and created legislation that could help them handle the job.

Article source: Delaware Online