Scrap Tire Abatement & Management
For decades, discarded vehicle tires have presented almost insurmountable handling and disposal problems throughout the United States and in Maine. These tires were impossible to effectively landfill and had little reuse value. By the latter part of the 20th century, there were thousands of unlicensed and uncontrolled tire stockpile sites throughout the United States.
By the early 1990’s, there were more than 300 unlicensed tire stockpiles in Maine. Many of these sites contained from 10,000 to 100,000 discarded tires. The five worst sites contained millions of tires each (one more than 5.7 million). The greatest danger posed by these stockpiles was the possibility of catastrophic fire occurring at a site. Such fires in other parts of the United States had proven to be extremely difficult and costly to extinguish and had caused significant environmental damage.
In 1995, legislation was enacted in Maine (38 MRSA § 1316 et seq.) that provided the Department of Environmental Protection with important tools for regulating discarded tire and for abating environmental and public health and safety hazards at uncontrolled tire stockpile sites. As a result, in 1996, the Department conducted ground inspections of all known and suspected tire stockpile sites in Maine; established environmental, health and safety standards for those sites and criteria for prioritizing clean-up of those sites; and initiated actions to bring all tire sites into compliance with these standards.
Since then, the Department has worked with and assisted cooperative site owners to undertake voluntary or cooperative tire clean-up of their sites. These actions have included removing and utilizing previously stockpiled tires to bring the sites into compliance with current regulatory standards. When necessary, the Department has also taken legal action against uncooperative site owners and has conducted the necessary abatement work and recovered available compensation for those costs.
From 1996 through the August 2008, hundreds of voluntary site clean-ups were completed. During that time, the Department directly oversaw the remediation of more than 25 of Maine’s worst uncontrolled tire stockpile sites. These sites containing a total of more than 14.5 million tires and cost approximately 12 million dollars to remediate. As of August 2008, the Department has one final on-going contract that is remediating the last remaining stockpile sites in this 12 year effort..
All of the tires that have removed from these sites were processed into tire-derived products used in construction projects or in energy recover. Among the projects were three Maine Turnpike Authority interchange and exit projects, two Maine Department of Transportation road reconstruction projects and two secure landfill cell drainage layer projects. In all, these projects used more than 60,000 tons of tire derived products and helped establish new national standards for tire processing and reuse. Articles describing some of these projects can be found below.
Other Related Links (Off Site)
Beneficial use fact sheets for tire shreds (UMaine.edu)