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American Tire & Recycling Corporation and Operations Manager Settle Environmental Claims in State Lawsuit for $35,000


NIAGARA - American Tire & Recycling Corporation, based in Niagara, Marinette County, and its operations manager Keary Ecklund, have agreed to take corrective actions at a tire processing facility in Niagara and to pay $35,000 to settle state claims brought under Wisconsin's solid waste management laws. 


Wisconsin law prohibits the operation of a solid waste storage and processing facility without an operating license and plan approval from the Department of Natural Resources, requires compliance with the terms of a license and plan approval, and prohibits the disposal and processing of waste tires at an unlicensed facility. 


American Tire & Recycling Corporation and Keary Ecklund obtained a license and plan approval to operate a waste tire processing facility in Niagara in June 2009.  American Tire & Recycling Corporation and Keary Ecklund violated state solid waste laws by accumulating more waste tires than allowed by the plan of operation approval issued for the Niagara facility and by violating nine conditions of that plan of operation approval designed to ensure the safe handling of the waste tires.  Specifically, more than 33,600 waste tires accumulated at the facility and continued to be accepted despite the excess accumulation and despite inadequate proof of financial responsibility, waste tires were stored outside the approved area and too close to buildings, waste tires were not processed within 4 days and were not containerized, and the facility had no storm water discharge permit.


In addition, American Tire & Recycling Corporation and Keary Ecklund processed waste tires and stored the waste tires on the ground at a facility in New London in Outagamie County without any license or plan of operation approval.  The New London facility was closed and all waste tires were removed promptly after an inspection by the Department of Natural Resources in January 2010.


According to the settlement, American Tire and Recycling Corporation and Keary Ecklund have worked cooperatively and diligently to correct the violations identified in the complaint.  As part of the settlement, they will begin processing the tires at the Niagara facility by March 25, 2010 and will return to a maximum accumulation of 33,600 waste tires by June 25, 2010.


The accumulation of thousands of tires poses a risk of disease including mosquito-born diseases like West Nile virus and encephalitis, and also poses a fire threat to neighboring residences and businesses.  In announcing the settlement, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recognized the defendants' efforts to eliminate these risks by following state law requirements.  "The Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's citizens are protected through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case.  Dane County Circuit Court Judge Patrick J. Fiedler approved the settlement.