September 4, 2008

Lawrence County Tire Recycling Facility Loses State Permit

By Daveen Rae Kurutz

The state Department of Environmental Protection revoked a permit for a Lawrence County tire recycling firm after conducting 12 inspections in less than a year.

Lion Enterprises 7/11 must relinquish its waste tire-processing permit within seven days and forfeit a $25,000 bond it held for the New Castle facility.

"Every time we've visited, we found violations that we documented (and) then presented to the owner," said Frieda Tarbell, spokeswoman for the department's Northeast Regional Office.

The company applied for the permit in February 2007 but began operation in the summer months, Tarbell said. At the first inspection, on Aug. 27, 2007, the department began finding violations. On Sept. 6, it found the company failing to make daily operation records available and storing more tires on site than the permit allowed.

A month later, the department found approximately 130 tons of waste tires were being stored on an adjacent property without a permit. Lion Enterprises also transported waste tires to a nonpermitted site in Hickory.

Since April, the company's phone has been disconnected, Tarbell said. Owner John Mowat, who resides in Hacienda Heights, Calif., could not be reached for comment.

Tarbell said the extreme number of inspections in a short timespan is not typical.

"When companies are getting up and running, we want to check if it's running smoothly," Tarbell said. "Typically we would alert the owner to get them pointed in the right direction."

Lion Enterprises submitted documentation to the DEP in late January showing that the violations had been cleared. However, subsequent inspections showed additional violations.

Tarbell said the building is slated to be sold at sheriff's sale.

Owners of Lion Enterprise must return the permit within seven days. They must transfer the remaining waste tires and processed tires to another facility within 30 days and provide documentation to the department within 35 days.

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