February 20, 2007
Hillsboro, Mo. — The owners of a scrap tire business in Jefferson County who repeatedly failed to properly dispose of thousands of scrap tires after being cited a number of times by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are facing a lawsuit by Attorney General Jay Nixon. Nixon is seeking an injunction and civil penalties against Thomas and Patricia Wallach, owners of Midwest Scrap Metal near House Springs, in the lawsuit filed today in Jefferson County Circuit Court.
Nixon says the defendants entered into a settlement agreement with his office and DNR in December 2002 to correct violations of the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law. The agreement stemmed from six DNR inspections of the site between 1992 and 2001 that resulted in the department issuing six violations related to the storage of scrap tires at the site. As part of the agreement, the Wallachs agreed to remove all the scrap tires from the property within one year.
DNR inspections of the site in September 2003 and July 2004 determined that although the defendants had removed some ties, approximately 1,000 still remained in violation of the agreement. In August 2005, the defendants stated that only 350 tires remained at the site and that it would be completely cleared by October 2005. A DNR inspection on Dec. 19, 2006, however, revealed approximately 1,000 scrap tires still present.
“Scrap tires can pose an environmental and health hazard, and they need to be properly and promptly disposed of,” Nixon said. “The defendants' unlawful acts in this case are of a continuing nature and represent a deliberate disregard of our environmental protection laws.”
Nixon is asking the court to issue an injunction that orders the defendants to comply with the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law, properly and legally dispose of all scrap tires at the site within 90 days of the court's judgment and submit proof of the disposal to DNR. The lawsuit also calls for the court to assess a civil penalty against the defendants for violating state environmental laws and to order them to pay all costs and fees associated with the case.