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Used Tires

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Used Tire Program Activities

1989 - 1998

This report has been prepared for Gov. George H. Ryan and the 91st General Assembly in accordance with Section 55 of the Environmental Protection Act

January 1999

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Bureau of Land
Division of Land Pollution Control
Field Operations Section
1021 North Grand Ave. East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276

Executive Summary

Illinois is recognized nationally as a leader in the management of used and waste tires. Prior to passage of the Used Tire Management Act in 1992, little reuse or recycling of waste tires occurred in Illinois. Through the efforts of the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), there currently are markets in Illinois for the 12.5 million waste tires generated annually by the state. In order for the market to exist, an established network of transporters, processors, and end users must be in place so that all waste tires generated are beneficially used and/or recycled. The actions of the Illinois EPA and DCCA, both funded through the Used Tire Management Fund, have been instrumental in the formation of this network.

Illinois EPA's role in the management of used and waste tires in Illinois is two phased. First, the Agency acts as a regulatory/enforcement agency. Illinois EPA regulates the generators, transporters, processors, and end users of waste tires to ensure all are operating in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. Second, the Illinois EPA operates a cleanup program to remediate tire dump sites. Both programs have been effective due in part to the dedicated funding the legislature has provided through the one dollar per tire user fee collected from retail customers.

Each year, the Illinois EPA remediates approximately 100 tire dump sites and removes and recycles approximately one million tires. The Agency's tire cleanup contractors, including Illinois Correctional Industries (operating under an Intergovernmental Agreement), process and deliver the tires to power plants that blend the tires with coal to produce electricity. The Agency co-sponsors 20 to 30 county-wide tire collections annually in which thousands of citizens bring waste tires from their property to a central location for proper disposal. These collections have been very popular with Illinois residents. The Agency also forces the removal of waste tires from dumps that pose an immediate threat to human health and the environment. If the property owner is unwilling or unable to remove the tires, the Agency conducts the cleanup and pursues cost recovery from the responsible party.

I. Introduction

At the time of adoption of the Used Tire Management Act by the Illinois legislature in 1992, an estimated 7 million used and waste tires were on the ground in Illinois. The State of Illinois recognized that used and waste tires represented a growing solid waste problem throughout the state, and that used and waste tires possessed certain physical and chemical characteristics that made them desirable for recycling, reuse, and energy recovery purposes. As a result of the used tire legislation and the activities of various programs funded under the legislation, the State of Illinois has become one of the most progressive states in the country for used and waste tire cleanup and recovery.

Used and waste tires pose a potential threat to human health and the environment through the risk of fire, presence of disease carrying mosquitoes, and the encouragement of open dumping of other solid wastes at unmanaged used and waste tire sites. With the State of Illinois generating approximately 12.5 million used and waste tires annually, the presence of a strong cleanup and regulatory program addressing the hazards posed by this reusable waste was and is important to the health and safety of its residents and environment.

The Illinois EPA has been responsible for implementing and maintaining the cleanup and regulatory programs addressing used and waste tires in Illinois. The Agency's program is funded through the Used Tire Management Fund, which is supported primarily by a $1.00 per tire user fee applied to customers on the price of new and used tires sold for retail in Illinois. This report, required under Section 55.6.d. of the Environmental Protection Act, describes the Illinois EPA's activities relating to funding through the Used Tire Management Fund.

Under Section 53.b., the purpose of TITLE XIV: Used Tires of the Environmental Protection Act is as follows:

  1. to ensure that used and waste tires are collected and are put to beneficial use or properly disposed of;
  2. to provide for the abatement of used and waste tire dumps and associated threats to the public health and welfare;
  3. to encourage the development of used and waste tire processing facilities and technologies, including energy recovery; and
  4. to provide for research on disease vectors associated with used and waste tires, and the diseases they spread.

This report describes Illinois EPA's efforts under items 1. and 2. above. The Agency, in cooperation with DCCA, contributes resources that address item 3. The Agency also works with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Natural History Survey in furtherance ofitem 4. This is accomplished through mosquito and other disease vector abatement and research studies at tire dumps.

II. Illinois EPA Responsiblities - Environmental Protection Act

Title XIV (Section 55.6.c.1.) of the Environmental Protection Act sets forth the purposes for funding the Illinois EPA under the Used Tire Management Fund. The purposes and corresponding activities/accomplishments are as follows, with priority given to item one (1):

  1. To undertake preventive, corrective or removal action as authorized by and in accordance with Section 55.3, and to recover costs in accordance with Section 55.3.
  2. For the performance of inspection and enforcement activities for used and waste tire sites.
  3. To assist with marketing of used tires by augmenting the operations of an industrial materials exchange service.
  4. To provide financial assistance to units of local government for the performance of inspecting, investigating and enforcement activities pursuant to subsection (r) of Section 4 at used and waste tire sites.
  5. To provide financial assistance for used and waste tire collection projects sponsored by local government or not-for-profit corporations.
  6. For the costs of fee collection and administration relating to used and waste tires, and to accomplish such other purposes as are authorized by this Act and regulations thereunder.

III. Illinois EPA's Used Tire Program Accomplishments

Illinois EPA's activities and accomplishments under the Used Tire Program described below directly correspond to the responsibilities identified in Section II of this report.

  1. The Illinois EPA has conducted over 1000 tire removal actions under Section 55.3. of the Environmental Protection Act. These actions come in one of two forms: 1) a consensual removal of up to 1000 used/waste tires at no cost to the property owner; or 2) a forced tire removal action under Section 55.3.d. of the Act. These activities, including the numbers of tires collected and the associated costs, are summarized in the figures located in the Appendix of this report. Well over 90 percent of the used and waste tires collected by the Agency are shredded for use as tire-derived fuel (TDF) in the public and private utility sector. The two types of actions undertaken by the Agency under Section 55.3. of the Act are further explained below:

    Consensual Removal

    Under Section 55.3.c. of the Environmental Protection Act, the Agency conducts used and waste tire removals at individuals' properties throughout Illinois. The Agency uses established contractors to collect and transport used and waste tires to processors for proper disposal. Under a Consensual Removal Agreement (CRA), the Agency will remove up to 1000 used/waste tires from an individual's property at no cost to the property owner. If greater than 1000 used/waste tires are present at the site, the Agency will remove the last 1000 tires after the property owner removes those used/waste tires in excess of 1000. This effort by the Agency provides a significant community service.

    Forced Tire Removal

    If conditions exist at a used/waste tire storage or disposal site that pose an immediate threat to human health or the environment, the Agency will issue a Notice Pursuant to Section 55.3(d) of the Act to the owner and operator of the site. The Notice instructs the property owner/operator to remove the tires or face a removal action and cost recovery action by the Agency. The Agency considers these forced removal actions a top priority in the used/waste tire cleanup program. The Agency pursues cost and penalty recovery pursuant to Sections 55.3.g. and 55.3.h. of the Act for appropriate sites under Notice.

  2. The Illinois EPA's Used Tire Unit conducts a used/waste tire inspection program that focuses on tire processors, storage facilities, disposal sites, generators, transporters, and non-notifiers. Illinois contains the following approximate types and numbers of used tire facilities:

    • more than 2000 generators
    • more than 450 transporters
    • more than 225 storage facilities
    • more than 35 processors

    The Agency conducts annual inspections at storage and processing facilities. In addition, tire disposal sites are inspected and targeted for appropriate cleanup action. Used tire transporters are addressed through the Agency's Tire Hauler Audit Strategy. The largest commercial haulers are audited annually and smaller commercial haulers and new registration applicants are audited on a lower priority basis. Used and waste tire generators and potential non-notifiers are inspected on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the user fee collection requirement under Section 55.9. of the Act and the retailer tax return requirement under Section 55.10. of the Act. The Agency conducts more than 680 inspections annually at regulated used tire facilities.

  3. The Illinois EPA has operated an Industrial Materials Exchange Service (IMES) since 1981. Pursuant to Section 55.b-1. of the Environmental Protection Act, the Agency works with permitted landfills and used/waste tire processors to ensure that the requirements related to the IMES are met. The Agency has found that the IMES requirement has nearly eliminated the disposal of used and waste tires in Illinois landfills. Used and waste tire chips may be used for road building projects within the landfill provided the activity is conducted under a supplemental permit issued by the Agency. Civil engineering applications for waste tires are emerging as an important and effective use for waste tires.

  4. The Illinois EPA has not delegated any inspection or enforcement activities to units of local government relative to the tire program.

  5. The Agency works with units of local government and other local sponsors to conduct city/county-wide used tire collections throughout the State of Illinois. Approximately 20-30 collections are conducted annually. The Illinois EPA provides all necessary funding for the collection and transportation of the used tires to a processing facility utilizing one of the established contractors obtained through the state's procurement process. Co-sponsors, usually units of local government, county farm bureaus, or other public interest groups, provide the necessary advertising and facility for the collections. Since the first collection in 1990, more than 41,000 people have participated in the more than 250 collections conducted by the Agency.

  6. The Illinois EPA collects and processes the $100 annual tire storage fee from all tire storage facilities in Illinois. There are an estimated 225 used tire storage facilities in Illinois. Facilities that are known to store tires and do not submit the fee are the subject of priority inspection and enforcement action initiated by the Agency. The Illinois EPA also evaluates tire retailers' compliance with Section 55.9. of the Environmental Protection Act relating to collection of the $1 user fee from retail customers and submittal of the fee to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Tables 1 and 2 and Figures 1 and 2 (see Appendix) illustrate the numbers and types of used and waste tire cleanups conducted by state fiscal year (SFY). Table 1 and Figure 1 illustrate total tire cleanup data and Table 2 and Figure 2 illustrate tire cleanup data by specific type of cleanup.

IV. Other Illinois EPA Used Tire Program Achievements

Pursuant to Section 55.7a. of the Environmental Protection Act, the Agency developed and implemented a Large Scrap Tire Disposal Pilot Program. The site selected was the Nelson White dump in Kankakee County. This site contained approximately 650,000 waste tires and was located in an area where historically, tire dumping had been prevalent. The Agency procured a contractor for the project and the cleanup began in the Spring of 1993. A fire occurred at the site in April of 1994. The Illinois EPA completed the cleanup on October 30, 1995 at a cost of approximately $650,000. This was the largest waste tire dump in the State of Illinois.

In 1995, the Illinois EPA, in conjunction with the Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP), conducted a collection of used/waste off-the-road (OTR) tires located in quarries in the Chicago area. These OTR tires are difficult to manage (transport, cut, shred, etc.) and the Agency initiated this project as a service to the quarry industry and as a means of studying the handling process involved in processing these tires. Over 7000 used/waste OTR tires were collected by the Agency contractor, resolving a difficult waste tire problem.

V. Future Priorities

The majority of the used and waste tire dumps in Illinois in 1990 have been remediated over the last 8 years. However, as the figures in the Appendix indicate, a significant amount of cleanups are still being conducted. City and county-wide collections continue on a regular basis. The Agency believes this program is a valuable public service and the amount of used and waste tires collected warrants the continuation of the program. In addition, the individual CRA program and the forced tire removals under Section 55.3.d. of the Act still occur at a significant rate.

The Illinois EPA predicts that a gradual shift from a mostly cleanup-oriented program toward a more regulatory-oriented program will occur over the next five years. Future priorities under the cleanup and regulatory program include:

  • Participate in pilot projects to study the use of tire shreds in engineered applications;
  • Address the used and waste tire problems present at junk yards, scrap yards, and auto recycling facilities;
  • Ensure that the required user fee is collected from retail customers and is submitted by the tire retailers to the State of Illinois;
  • Ensure that waste tire processors operating in Illinois are in compliance with applicable regulations.


Table 1

IEPA Used Tire Cleanups
  PTE* Cost in Dollars Avg. Cost
Per PTE*
SFY '90 7,224 21,315 2.95
SFY '91 581,313 1,780,914 3.06
SFY '92 316,978 875,573 2.76
SFY '93 444,576 843,060 1.9
SFY '94 607,564 1,326,734 2.18
SFY '95 582,648 1,176,954 2.02
SFY '96 1,504,950 1,620,677 1.08
SFY '97 1,043,569 1,372,844 1.32
SFY '98 657,102 1,066,513 1.62

* PTE = Passenger Tire Equivalent

For example, during state fiscal year 1998 (SFY '98), the equivalent of 657,102 passenger tires were cleaned up by the Illinois EPA. The average cost per PTE during SFY '98 was $1.62.

Annual Tire Cleanup Data (10K)

Table 2

IEPA Used Tire Cleanups
Cleanup Type SFY'90 SFY'91 SFY'92 SFY'93 SFY'94 SFY'95 SFY'96 SFY'97 SFY'98
City/County-Wide Collections 1 69 30 29 19 23 25 25 36
Individual CRAs 3 192 116 78 97 76 56 52 58
Forced Removals (55.3d) 0 0 0 0 2 11 16 10 21
TOTALS 4 261 146 107 118 110 97 87 115

Used Tire Cleanups (13K)

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