Anderson Co. begins overhaul at problematic tire site in the Homeland Park area

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ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Clean-up efforts are underway at the Viva Recycling of the Upstate, LLC in Anderson County. Neighbors said the property has been a problem for years.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the property was filled with chipped or old tires everywhere. If you ride by now, there is a different sight as large equipment is hauling things away.

“I feel like it’s a long time coming. We’re excited that this monstrosity will be out of our sight and out of our mind. You know, not having to deal with tire fires anymore, worrying about that happening; and what that does to our water infrastructure and the stress it causes on our fire EMS, that’s going to be a huge relief for us,” said Walter Lanier, Homeland Park Community Watch.

Within the last week, crews have been hauling away the 3,500 tons of tires from the seven acres of land.

“We’ve actually taken out 1,120 tons total. Yesterday, 260 tons went out yesterday,” said Greg Smith, Solid Waste Director for Anderson County.

Smith said crews are taking some of the tires to landfills in Greenville and in Georgia.

“Clearing the tires, disposing of them. Getting rid of the buildings that are on the property. It’ll probably take a little bit longer once the tires are removed. The county is going to come back in, and remove the construction debris and all that,” Smith said.

The tire site was shut down by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in 2016. Since then, tons of tires remained, and residents said it created a hotbed for mosquitos, crime, vagrants and fires.

“Past few years it’s just a nightmare having to deal with this. The fires and again like I say, the noise that it was causing. I mean I know it’s commercial property, but it’s so close to residential that it’s just been a burden,” Lanier said.

“They were recycling tires or cutting up tires for recycling and all that. Basically, what you have now, is you have so many tires come in over what they were supposed to have on the property and all that. Now the county and DHEC are actually having to go back and clean the property up,” Smith said.

After years of fighting, Anderson County is clearing everything in sight with a $2 million Waste Tire Grant awarded by DHEC.

“The residents of the county asked for it to be made into a green space, so we’re actually cleaning the top of this off and going back to plant grass seeded it that way, and make it look like a nice piece of property,” Smith said.

However, Lanier said he’s still concerned about the 5,000 tons of tires Anderson County said is still buried underground.

“Right now, our direction from DHEC is, we’re not going underground. Once we get through the process and further through it, we’re going to have DHEC come back and revisit the site and see if there is anything else they want us to do,” Smith said.  

Smith said they also hope to get more funding to do testing on the property.

“I think somewhere toward the end here, we will do some testing. So we’re waiting on DHEC funding to get that done,” Smith said. “We’ll have to go through to get everything tested to see what needs to be done to the property, if anything needs to be done,” he added.

Lanier wants DHEC to do more to have the property cleaned completely.

“It’s not enough for me. Not considering the battles that we fought, and the county fought with us, to get this took down and to get this cleaned up and to hear that they’re going to partially pick it up,” Lanier said.

Smith said the clean-up process will take about four months to complete.

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