The state’s cracking down on the operator of a couple big tire dumps in Rhodes and State Center. Attorney general’s spokesman Bob Brammer says one has a million used tires stockpiled on its Marshall County property.In January the AG’s office filed an environmental enforcement lawsuit, and today (Thursday) a judge in Marshall County ordered Bee-Rite Tire Disposal to pay a million-and-a-half dollar civil penalty and not accept any more waste tires at the dump.Brammer says it’s not the first tire dumpsite the state’s had to crack down on, and says often in such cases the operators intend to recycle the tires and even sell them for a profit. You can chip the tires to make a material for covering the ground at children’s playgrounds, and it can be ground up to make fuel of the kind that’s used at Mason City’s cement kiln,just some of the uses for the material.But sometimes once an operator opens a dumpsite and starts accepting used tires, they don’t get to the stage of doing the recycling. They just fail to do that, after getting paid for the tires and letting them pile up — Brammer says the DNR’s had enforcement issues with these two facilities for several years.The thousands or millions of piled-up tires pose a fire risk, which Brammer says is part of the reason for the crackdown.Another problem is that water collects in the tires and provides a breeding-ground for mosquitoes, “the last thing we need this year.” The state hopes to force the company to clean up all the tires and has forbidden it to take any more.
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