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EAST CHICAGO - More than 2,000 tons of charred tire shreds stored at the

East Chicago transfer station are being removed through agreements with the

Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Removal of the burned tire remains began Thursday at the East Chicago

transfer station, 5400 Cline Ave. The charred, shredded tires were moved to the

transfer station site after the 1994 fire at Rubber Material Handling.

The fire there ignited July 16, 1994, and burned 70,000 tons of shredded and

whole tires before the blaze was extinguished Aug. 22, 1994. As the fire

burned, charred tire shreds were removed from the site to make room for fire

fighting equipment.

IDEM hired Waste Recovery of Dupo, Ill., to conduct part of the $76,000

cleanup, which expected to be complete by the end of this week. Those tires

will be taken to the Newton County landfill for disposal.

Through an agreement with IDEM, Neutralysis Industries of Northwest Indiana

and Indiana Recycling L.L.C. are disposing of 650 tons of the 2,000 tons stored

at the East Chicago transfer station.

Neutralysis and Indiana Recycling violated operating permits this year by

failing to close the transfer station by Dec. 31, 1996. IDEM ordered the

companies to pay a cash penalty of $1,941 and to spend $20,150 removing 650

tons of remaining tire shreds from the transfer station site. The companies

will work with Meyer Waste Systems to transport those tires to Forest Lawn

Landfill in Three Oaks, Mich.

"The reason they didn't have a higher cash penalty is we wanted them to do

the cleanup and felt that was a fair way to handle it," said Jo Lynn Ewing,

spokeswoman for IDEM. "Neutralysis and Indiana Recycling are not responsible

for those tires being there, but we thought it would be an excellent way to

have them give back for the other violations."

In another project, IDEM completed the $529,000 tire cleanup of A.S.K.

Shredders, 415 151st St. in East Chicago, in November, removing 5,641 tons of

waste tires and 460 cubic yards of asbestos waste from the site.

The company operated a tire processing facility at the East Chicago location

from 1988 to 1994 and was cited for tire storage violations in 1993. The issue

was referred to IDEM's office of enforcement and is currently being handled by

the Indiana attorney general's office.