Crews with Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Recycling on Monday began cleaning up hundreds of thousands of scrap tires left at the former Viva Recycling facility in Moncks Corner — a process that could take up to two years and cost $2 million.
Viva left behind as many as 800,000 tires when state regulators shut down the recycler last year for multiple permit violations. The tires, a breeding ground for mosquitoes, have been a fire and health hazard for hundreds of people living in a neighborhood next to the facility.
Berkeley County officials are using a $2 million grant from the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control to clean up the site. The county hired Liberty Tire in June, and the company plans to take the tires to other recycling facilities where they will be made into products such as mulch, artificial turf for athletic fields and rubberized asphalt.
Money for the cleanup will come from a $2-per-tire fee customers in South Carolina pay when they purchase new tires. About half of that money goes to the state's health department to promote recycling.
Meanwhile, DHEC has not addressed Viva's other recycling site in the Upstate, where Anderson County officials estimate it could cost $1 million to remove thousands of abandoned scrap tires. Regulators also revoked that facility's permits, and county officials appear to be losing patience over the cleanup's lack of progress.
"If they paid for Berkeley, they can pay for ours," Rusty Burns, the county administrator, said during a meeting last week, according to the Anderson Independent-Mail. "We expect it to be cleaned up completely."