A Pennsylvania tire hauler was held responsible for part of the costs of cleanup of an illegal dump as a result of Pennsylvania environmental regulations.
The hauler paid a rural family business to accept his dumping of waste tires. Over a period of three years, the hauler dumped 55 truckloads of tires on the family’s dump site, totaling over 330 tons of tires. The site became the largest illegal tire dump site in Pennsylvania, containing over 4 million waste tires before it was shut down by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The family did not have permits for the site.
After extensive litigation and negotiations with the family to advance the removal of the millions of tires, and after some were removed, DEP began its own cleanup of the site. DEP requested the haulers who had dumped the tires to remove the same amount of tires as they had dumped on the site, and many did. Some of the haulers simply paid DEP’s costs of removal. Several haulers resisted taking any responsibility, and one went to trial.
The hauler who went to trial maintained that he never knew the dump was illegal and that the family told him they processed tires into paving material. He admitted that he never asked to see a permit and never inquired about the tire processing the family claimed they did. He also admitted he never inspected their business operations at any time.
He was found responsible for over $23,000 in costs incurred by DEP to remove his 330 tons of waste tires from the site, because the Pennsylvania Solid Waste Management Act makes individuals or companies who dump solid waste responsible if the site does mot have a permit. Whether solid waste is transported to a dump or a processing facility does not matter; haulers must be sure that the site where they dump waste has a legal permit to accept that waste.