The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 26, 2013

Ashtabula Iron and Metal ordered to remove more than 120,000 tires by Sept. 9

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Ashtabula Iron and Metal received its final orders from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the now-bankrupt recycling and demolition company has about two months to do it.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ordered the owners of Ashtabula Iron and Metal, 1015 W. 30th St., and 2710 West Ave., to remove more than 120,000 scrap tires on the property by Sept. 9.

The bulk of the scrap tires are stored in a massive pile in the middle of the property, and several large and small piles scattered around the property.

If the tires are not removed, the EPA will get a court order to seek access to the property to have an EPA contractor remove the tires, Mike Settles, spokesman for the Ohio EPA, said.

“Then we would seek reimbursement from the owners,” he said.

The Ohio EPA first became aware of the tires from a search warrant and report received April 27, 2012 from the Municipal Court in which Ashtabula Fire Chief Ron Pristera told the court he had “good reason to believe” that the property at 1015 W. 30th St. had conditions which “are or may become hazardous to public health, safety or welfare.”

Additional information about the property came from a copy of Pristera’s April 30, 2012 report to the court. It was in that report that Pristera said the inspectors carried a radiological meter with them after a contractor previously alluded to the possibility of “low-level nuclear waste” on the site.

The EPA immediately investigated the site and inspectors discovered ground spills, pallets,

railroad ties, lumber and thousands of scrap tires.

Consequently, the owners/operators of AIM received citations from the EPA, demanding they take immediate action to clean up the site, secure the site and submit a closure plan, or face fines of up to $10,000 a day.

Settles said Thursday the site is not cleaned up and there continues to be “numerous environmental concerns” with the property with both hazardous waste and solid waste.

The Ohio EPA has referred the case to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, he said.

“(The Attorney General’s Office) will see if they can get some sort of progress made with the owner or file a complaint in local court,” Settles said.