AMITE — The attorney representing the Tangipahoa Parish Council and parish president over allegations of misuse and improper storage of shredded tires said he expects the matter could be resolved before a new parish president takes office in January.
Attorney Beau Brock told the council Monday that he is continuing to meet with the state Department of Environmental Quality and had a conference with the agency as recently as Thursday. Brock said it was a “good meeting” and that agency officials seemed pleased the parish is continuing to provide additional records about how and when the shredded tire material was accumulated.
The council learned in June that DEQ had sent Parish President Gordon Burgess a compliance order and notice of potential penalty regarding the use of shredded tires on a firing range being built at the landfill. Additionally, DEQ has alleged the parish stored an excessive amount of the tire material at the landfill and had been lax in maintaining some records and in providing timely reports as required by the agency.
The notice included a warning that the parish could be fined thousands of dollars a day for the duration of the alleged violations if the matter is not resolved.
“I believe that we have turned the corner in the matter of being fined because we are working with DEQ in an amicable manner,” Brock said Monday.
Brock said he has had limited contact with Environmental Industries Recycling of Port Allen, the firm that transported the shredded tires to the Tangipahoa Parish landfill. He suggested the parish not deal with EIR but deal directly with DEQ instead.
The attorney said a plan is being put together on how to handle the millions of pounds of shredded tires at the landfill.
One possible solution, Brock said, is to dispose of the material at the landfill. He cautioned, however, that such a move would cost about $300,000 and would take up valuable space in the landfill.
“That is one thing that DEQ is trying to avoid, getting rid of shredded tires in landfills,” Brock said.
A second alternative, he said, is to move the material to an unused site at the landfill.
A range of solutions is being explored, and Brock said the parish has 69 days to arrive at a final plan of action.
Burgess, who’s been Tangipahoa Parish’s only president since the home rule charter was adopted in 1988, is not seeking re-election in the fall elections.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Ward 8 constable Don Marshall requested that a litter court, overseen by justices of the peace, be inaugurated by the parish. Marshall said that without the court, current laws for punishing those caught deliberately littering “have no teeth.” He said a litter court could give the justices of the peach the authority to revoke a litterer’s driver’s license if he failed to pay fines or perform community service.
Councilman Trent Forrest, who chairs the council’s litter abatement committee, said his committee is studying multiple approaches toward solving the parish’s litter problem.