The cleanup of about 800,000 tires left behind at a recycling facility in Moncks Corner is scheduled to start Aug. 20.
Berkeley County has entered into an agreement with Liberty Tire Recycling to begin the removal of discarded tires at the now-shuttered Viva Recycling plant. A $2 million grant from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will fund the cleanup.
“Berkeley County will work closely with Liberty Tire Recycling to ensure this public health and safety concern is handled in an aggressive manner," said County Supervisor Bill Peagler. "We are thankful for the assistance of S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, our first responders and county staff who understand and appreciate the scope and importance of this project.”
Crews with Liberty Tire Recycling will remove the tires from the facility and transport them to plants in North Carolina and South Carolina, where the tires will be processed for other uses.
The work is expected take about 10 months.
During the cleanup, Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies will patrol the area. The public is not allowed on the premises. Additionally, the site will be monitored regularly by Pimlico Fire Department, and mosquito abatement efforts will continue in the area.
The hiring of Liberty, a national recycler with headquarters in Pittsburgh and a facility in Anderson, had been expected. The company's bid proposal called for a 40-week cleanup process in which Liberty would charge $239 per ton. Roughly 100 passenger vehicle tires make up a ton. The money set aside by the state would cover 8,368 tons, or approximately 836,800 tires.
Liberty was one of two companies that submitted qualifying bids. The other company — C2G Ltd. of Goose Creek — had proposed removing the tires over a two-year period at $400 per ton. Five other bid proposals didn’t meet the county’s minimum qualifications.
The cleanup is being spurred by The Post and Courier report Tire Failure, which exposed how lax state oversight and corporate missteps fueled the rise of massive tire piles in Moncks Corner, Anderson and Jacksonville, Fla.
The newspaper documented how Viva Recycling executives had a string of bankruptcies in the Northeast before launching their tire recycling projects in South Carolina. Despite those failures, state and local officials greased their entry into South Carolina by green-lighting $16 million in tax-exempt bonds and a $400,000 loan.