Oregon DEQ fines tire recycler

State agency claims company committed water quality violations.

March 10, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations Tires

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a penalty totaling $27,330 to RB Recycling Inc. for repeated stormwater discharge permit violations at two of the company’s tire processing facilities in Portland.

According to the DEQ, the violations occurred during the 2012-13 stormwater monitoring period between July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013.

RB’s Burgard Avenue facility operates under a DEQ-issued permit, which allows it to discharge stormwater generated on the site into the Willamette River under strict regulations. The company’s Borthwick Ave. facility, while no longer processing tires, remains regulated under a similar permit while sources of contamination remain on site. The Borthwick facility discharges to the nearby Columbia Slough.

DEQ fined RB Recycling for numerous permit violations, including failing to monitor stormwater discharge for pollutants as required, failing to inspect its discharges for observable pollutants on a monthly basis and failing to take proper corrective action when its discharges exceeded allowable levels of certain pollutants.

An announcement from the agency says the DEQ alerted company officials that it was especially concerned that the violations were repeated and have not been corrected despite the fact that the city of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, which administers the two RB Recycling permits for the state, sent written warnings to the company in the past.

Additionally, DEQ issued RB Recycling similar penalties for stormwater permit violations at the Borthwick Avenue facility in 2009 and 2012.

The permits contain important requirements to monitor for certain specific pollutants that can be particularly harmful to the water body receiving the discharge. About $3,500 of the penalty amount represents the estimated economic benefit RB Recycling gained by avoiding the costs of following permit terms as required.

Specific penalties are:

  • failing to monitor stormwater discharges for specific industrial-sector pollutants during the 2012-13 monitoring period for both permits ($16,772 penalty); 
  • violating the permit for Borthwick Avenue facility by failing to properly conduct monthly visual inspections of discharges from the site (12 separate cited violations adding up to a $4,397 penalty); and
  • violating both facility permits by failing to prepare and implement corrective action reports designed to address specific pollutant discharge issues at both the Borthwick and Burgard sites ( $6,161 penalty).

RB Recycling has until March 5, 2014, to appeal the penalties.