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Md. agency sues over tire pile

February 06, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Md. agency sues over tire pile

The Maryland Department of the Environment filed suit on Thursday in an attempt to force a Smithsburg man and a Greencastle, Pa., couple to pay more than $770,000 the state says it cost to clean up a large tire pile.

According to papers filed in Washington County Circuit Court, the state paid $770,174 in April 1996 to remove 429,000 tires from an open dump on a property off Jugtown Road near Pondsville Road in the Smithsburg area.

Dwight L. and Leona A. Grove, of 78 S. Allison St., in Greencastle, stockpiled the scrap tires, according to the suit. They owned Grove Tire Inc. in Waynesboro, Pa., the suit said.

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Reached at home Thursday night, Leona Grove said she and her husband have been notified of the lawsuit.

"I really don't have anything to say. We have our attorneys looking into it," she said.

The suit also names Walter Bromley, of 23144 Foxville Road in Smithsburg, who owned the property at the time.

Bromley could not be reached for comment.

Quentin Banks, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said the department cleans tire piles with money from a scrap tire fund created in 1991. State law requires the department to try to recoup those costs from responsible parties.

Banks said only a few tire piles the state has cleaned up in the last few years have been larger.

"It's pretty big," he said. "They present a rather unique environmental hazard. If they catch fire, they're extremely difficult to put out."

Banks said scrap tire piles pose oil pollution risks if they burn or if rain washes the oil away.

According to the suit, the department sent letters to the Groves and Bromley asking them to pay the cleanup costs but did not receive any response.

The state cleaned up more than 1 million tires last year, Banks said.

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