Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim announced the completion of a large used tire removal action at the former Harmon Auto Salvage, located on Route 29, south of Pekin in Tazewell County. Illinois EPA has authority under the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to carry out used tire removal actions when an accumulation of used or waste tires poses a threat to public health or the environment. The used tire removal action took more than six weeks to complete due to the amount of waste tires and solid waste spread over an estimated 10-acre area. A total of 224.12 tons of used/waste tires (the equivalent of 19,921 passenger tires) were removed from the property. The $147,900 cost of the removal is paid for by Illinois EPA’s Used Tire Management Fund.

The site is an abandoned former auto salvage site, formerly known as Harmon Auto Salvage and operated by Charles D. Harmon (deceased). This removal action was lengthy and challenging due to the size of the site, the dispersion of waste tires and solid waste throughout the site, and intense vegetative growth, among other obstacles. Tazewell County Health Department contributed five 20-yard drop boxes for the removal of solid waste at the site, paid for disposal of the solid waste, and purchased Jersey blocks to protect the site from unauthorized access. The successful completion of this used tire removal action is an excellent example of cooperation between Illinois EPA and units of local government.

“As part of the Agency’s mission to protect health, welfare, property and quality of life, we had an obligation to ensure this abandoned site did not pose further threat to the surrounding community and residents,” said Director Kim. “This particular site had unique challenges that were met by our partnership with Tazewell County Health Department.”

Improperly managed used tires provide a prime breeding habitat for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Used tires that contain water, leaves and grass serve as an ideal incubator for mosquito eggs and larvae. Illinois EPA’s Used Tire Program ensures used tires are properly disposed of at a registered, commercial used tire processing facility in Illinois. Some tires are retreaded and reused, and others are recycled into a variety of products and uses. The Illinois EPA's Used Tire Program is funded by a $2.50 per tire fee that consumers pay when purchasing tires at retail.