In New York State, an estimated 18-20 million waste tires are generated each year (approximately one tire-per-person-per-year). Management of waste tires is regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). In July 2004, NYSDEC released a comprehensive plan to abate non-compliant waste tire stockpiles.
A statewide enumeration and an assessment of each known non-compliant waste tire stockpile was conducted between August 2003 and May 2004, which identified approximately 95 locations, containing an estimated 29 million tires. Since then, additional stockpiles have been added to DEC's sites targeted for abatement. These more recent sites generally are not newly generated stockpiles, but have been newly discovered through a combination of reports received from the public, response to complaints of environmental concern, or through routine inspection of solid waste management facilities such as vehicle dismantling facilities.
In abatement, DEC, through its consultants and contractors, removes tires from the non-compliant stockpile and arranges for their off-site recycling. The land is then restored with fill, topsoil and seeding as needed. DEC has also been able to secure agreements with owners of non-compliant tire stockpiles to perform abatement under DEC oversight.
Four of the original 95 identified sites were estimated to contain over one million waste tires each. Waste tires and piles of waste tires pose challenges and problems, including their potential as mosquito breeding locations and potential for fire.
The ECL Article 27. Title 19. Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act (link leaves DEC's website) was enacted to ensure the proper management of waste tires in New York State. The Act added Title 19 to Article 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law. Title 19 includes the following provisions:
- Establishment of the Waste Tire Management and Recycling Fund and enactment of a waste tire management and recycling fee of $2.50 per new tire sold, including tires on new motor vehicles. Tire service centers must collect the waste tire management and recycling fee from the purchaser at the time of the sale and remit such fee to the Department of Taxation and Finance. The tire service center shall be entitled to retain an allowance of 25 cents per tire from fees collected. The fee is mandated from September 12, 2003 (the effective date) until December 31, 2010 in the original Act. The termination date of December 31, 2010 has been extended several times, and currently is effective until December 31st, 2025.
- Mandatory acceptance of used tires from customers by tire service centers. Customers may return tires in approximately the same size and in a quantity equal to the number of new tires purchased or installed. Sign posting requirements are also included for tire service centers. The Act has been amended several times to extend this provision, currently, until December 31st, 2025.
- Preparation, by the NYSDEC, of a comprehensive plan designed to abate all non-compliant waste tire stockpiles by December 31, 2010. This plan was required to establish a priority list and schedule for abatement of each non-compliant waste tire stockpile based on potential adverse impacts on public health, safety or welfare, the environment, or natural resources. The plan was required to include a census of compliant and non-compliant waste tire stockpiles in New York State and the number of waste tires believed to be stored at each site. The plan was required to be submitted to the Governor and the Legislature by September 12, 2004, and was completed in July 2004.
- The Act provides NYSDEC with authority to enter all non-compliant waste tire stockpiles for the purpose of investigation and abatement. Owners or operators of non-compliant waste tire stockpiles must submit to and/or cooperate with any and all remedial measures necessary for the abatement of non-compliant waste tire stockpiles.
- Establishment of a prohibition of land burial of waste tires and prescribes that no monies from the waste tire management and recycling fund can be used to dispose of waste tires in a landfill unless NYSDEC has determined that it is not feasible to convert the waste tires to a beneficial use.
- Declaration that crumb rubber shall not be regulated as a solid waste.
When tire piles burn various environmental problems occur. Significant air pollution results from the incomplete combustion of the tires creating a thick, black, foul-smelling smoke. Additionally, as many of the tires melt and partially burn, an oily discharge usually occurs that can flow into nearby streams, ditches and waterways or can seep into the ground water.
Tire fires are extremely difficult to extinguish and many fire departments that have large local waste tire piles within their jurisdiction have emergency plans in place to deal with the difficulties associated with managing a tire fire.
Locations of Known Tire Fires and the estimated number of tires that burned in NYS from 1989 to the present:
- Island Wide Recycling, Suffolk County - 100,000 tires
- Poly-Tech, Dutchess County - Crumb rubber pile
- Almag Construction, Rensselaer County - 100 tires
- Casings, Greene County - 2,000,000 tires
- Dunston Brothers, Albany County- 800-1,000 tires
- Polsinello Fuels Inc., Rensselaer County - 200-700 tires
- Burdick, Rensselaer County - Over 10,000 tires
- Moran C&D, Columbia County - Several thousand tires
- Northeast, Otsego County - 1,000 - 2,000 tires
- Tire Conversion Technologies, Inc., Schenectady County - 4,000 tires
- Waldrons Car Parts, Green County - 3,000-4,000 tires
- Town of Moriah Landfill, Essex County - 5,000 tires
- Capco, Clinton County - 1,500 and 100 tires (two fires)
- Mohawk Tire Recycling, Saratoga County - 500,000 tires
- A-1 and B&W Auto Parts, Oneida County - 8,000 tires
- Beutel, Jefferson County - 4,000 tires
- At-Work Tires, Cortland County - 10,000 tires
- Parmenter, Schuyler County - 40,000 tires
- Radesi, Livingston County - 300-400 tires
- Tire Solutions International, Seneca County - 5,000 tires
- Hornburg, Chautauqua County - 1,000,000 tires
- Argyle, Washington County
Additional information about Waste Tires:
Waste Tire Plan Executive Summary (July 2004) - for entire plan, contact DEC.
Tire Tips - ways to make your vehicle tires last longer.
Beneficial Use Determinations
Solid Waste Management Facilities Forms - including for authorized Waste Tire Handling and Recovery Facilities.