Cleanup efforts to soon start at Viva Recycling, following years of problems

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ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–A $2 million Waste Tire Grant will haul away tires and structures at Viva Recycling.

Anderson County has recently been awarded the grant from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

“We’ve probably been involved in some kind of fight on this property for about five years. And we have worked with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and just recently we were rewarded $2 million. And we are going to take that $2 million, and clean up this eyesore, mosquito bed, horrible, horrible blight on this community,” said Rusty Burns, Administrator for Anderson County.

“And we had our final meeting with DHEC on Monday, they made a couple of revisions, so the tires that we can recycle, we will recycle. Everything else will be gone. These structures will be gone and we want to turn it back into a nice forest. Not anything else. Just nice green trees to help heal this land right here,” Burns said.

The tire facility was shut down by SCDHEC in 2016. However, there have been multiple fires and a mountain of other problems since then.

“Actually the property has a lot of dangerous situations with it, especially with fires and all that, so it is a danger to the community. So, we will be able to come in and get the property cleaned up. We will be putting a lien on the property, so if anybody were to ever buy it down the road, they would have to pay the county back for that, before they could do anything on the property,” said Greg Smith, Solid Waste Director, Anderson County.

“The biggest thing that we’re totally concerned about is the fire situation. We’ve had multiple fires down here, where two of them were 10 county fire departments. Homeland Park being the local one, came out here and spent basically 24 hours both times,” Smith added.

County officials also said the space has been a hotbed for things like mosquitoes, rats, and snakes. Residents said they’ve even seen drug activity there.

“It caused mosquitoes ungodly here in the area,” said Walter Lanier, President for the Homeland Park Community Watch.

“A lot of criminal activity has went on in the buildings here. We’ve had a lot of drug users. There have been a lot of drug deals on this road,” Lanier said. “And we were concerned about these things continuing to catch on fire, the chemicals that that spreads. 

Lanier said the community has been concerned about the property with children in the area.

“We’ve found needles out here in this area, and we would have to come and clean it up because wandering kids are going to play and we’re concerned they would get in here and get injured,” Lanier said.

“The second thing would be the smoke coming from the fire. Like I said, it is a petroleum product, you do have to worry about carbon dioxide and things like that,” Smith said.

Lanier said he wished something could’ve been done awhile ago.

“I just felt like maybe they should be a little more strict on the ordinances or some way they can take care of these things a little quicker,” Lanier said.

Smith said to clear the property, it will be an eight to 12 week process. Anderson County hopes to start the project within the next month.

“Basically once all of this is cleaned up any dirt that needs to be brought into cover up and all that, then it’s going to be seeded in grass,” Smith said.

Lanier said it’s been a long time coming.

“It’s huge for us because we’re working to clean up and beautify our community and to bring in good development and to reduce crime, and even though as long as it took, because the way things work, it’s just a huge win for us,” Lanier said.

Anderson County officials said Viva Recycling technically still owns the property, but they have not heard from the owner. Leaders said due to hazardous threats of the property, the county has permission to move forward with cleanup efforts.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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