Understanding Waste Tires

Tires play an essential role in our daily lives, enabling us to travel safely and efficiently. However, their improper disposal can lead to environmental hazards, posing significant challenges for regulatory authorities and property owners. Understanding the regulations surrounding their storage and disposal, the responsibilities of property owners, and the serious consequences of non-compliance is essential.

Understanding Unauthorized Waste Tire Piles

An unauthorized waste tire pile is a collection of more than 20 waste tires that are stored and/or disposed of without proper authorization from the administrative authority. In Louisiana, waste tires are regulated by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) under the solid waste rules (LAC 33:VII.105). According to these rules, no person is allowed to store more than 20 whole waste tires unless they have explicit authorization from the LDEQ. Such authorization is granted under specific conditions:

  1. The tires are collected and stored at a registered tire dealer, registered used tire dealer, or registered other generator of waste tires.
  2. The tires are collected and stored at an authorized waste tire collection center or permitted waste tire processing facility.
  3. The tires are collected and stored at an authorized waste tire recycling facility.

The Consequences of Improper Waste Tire Disposal

It is crucial to emphasize that any form of improper waste tire disposal is strictly prohibited under the Louisiana Solid Waste Regulations. This includes actions like discarding, burning, or releasing waste tires into the environment in any manner that contravenes the regulations. Violating these rules can lead to severe penalties, with fines of up to $25,000 per day per violation imposed on companies or individuals found to be in violation.

Responsibilities of Property Owners

Property owners bear significant responsibilities when it comes to unauthorized waste tire piles on their land. The regulations outline several obligations that they must adhere to:

  1. Remediation: Owners of the property where unauthorized waste tire piles are located must take steps to remediate the site or reimburse the LDEQ for the cost of remediation.
  2. Disease Vector Control: Property owners must implement disease vector control measures to safeguard public safety and health. This includes keeping the site free of excess grass, underbrush, and other potential breeding grounds for pests. Stormwater that collects in tires is a breeding ground for west nile and malaria-carrying mosquitos and thus a hazard to employees and others.
  3. Limiting Access: Property owners must restrict access to unauthorized waste tire piles to prevent further disposal of tires or other waste on the site.


Investigations, Audits, and Enforcement

The LDEQ conducts investigations to determine whether violations have occurred or are about to occur. Inspections and examinations of facilities and records may also take place, and public hearings or subpoenas can be issued as part of these investigations (R.S. 30:2025).

Upon concluding an investigation, the gathered information is compiled, and the report of the investigation shall be presented to the administrative authority for use in possible enforcement proceedings. When a violation is confirmed, the administrative authority has the right to estimate and assess the amount of the fee due, along with any interest accrued and penalties (R.S. 30:2025). The penalties for non-compliance and fraudulent takings are as follows:

  1. Failure to Comply: Failure of any person to comply with any of the provisions of the waste tire regulations or of the terms and conditions of any permit granted or order issued pursuant is a violation of the law and regulations and can subject a company to criminal and civil penalties.
  2. Violations and Fraud Associated with Falsifying Documents:
  3. It is illegal to defraud, prepare, submit, tender, sign, make an entry upon, or certify any invoice, report, manifest, request for payment, claim, or other document in connection with the origin, transportation, storage, transfer, assignment, sale, or disposal of waste tires.
  4. Penalties for such a violation of the waste tire rules will be based on the value of the act committed. When there are several distinct acts by the offender, the aggregate amount of the payments, subsidies, credits, other disbursements, or things of value obtained shall determine the grade of the offense. Penalties shall be as follows:
  5. If the violations amount to a value of $500 or more, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 10 years, or may be fined not more than $3,000, or both.
  6. When the violations amount to a value of $300 or more, but less than $500, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or may be fined not more than $2,000, or both.

iii. When the violations amount to less than $300, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than six months or might be fined not more than $500, or both. However, if such a conviction is the offender’s third or subsequent conviction for violation of this Subsection, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or may be fined not more than $2,000, or both.

The issue of waste tires poses environmental and health risks, necessitating strict regulations and enforcement to ensure responsible handling and disposal. Property owners and individuals must be aware of their responsibilities and the potential consequences of non-compliance. At Leaaf Environmental, we can help you navigate the world of waste tires and leave you in compliance. If you have any questions, please contact info@leaaf.com