Tire Shredding process won't locate in Loudon County After All







Residents voice concerns over Knoxville Tire Processing Fires


By: Pat Hunter


Whatever happened to MTR- TIRE Shredding Process? At the May 11, 2010 Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission meeting, a brief update was given about MTR after a resident asked about the status of a new location for MTR, a tire shredding recycling process facility.


LCSWDC Loudon City commissioner Robert Harrison explained how MTR had looked at the Lenoir City Ft. Terminal location and had put an option but then TDEC turned that down. Harrison had recommended another site across from IMCO (aluminum smelter) in the Blairbend Industrial Park, but by that time they had located another site off Rutledge Pike in Knoxville. Harrison did not offer any reasons as to TDEC's rationale. 


We need clean industry, we don't need stuff like that said a Matlock Bend community resident, as others agreed. Their operation is pretty clean replied LCSWDC Chairman Steve Field. There will still be chemicals, someone replied. Chairman Field mentioned that the process was not dirty or smelly and that it was a pretty clean operation. Its not perfect, there's a little bit of rubber dust on the floor, at least the one I saw in Nashville; Field had visited the Nashville tire shredding process facility site to look at the process. The Loudon County landfill disposes its tires with MTR


Its unfortunate that we couldn't find a place around here commented Chairman Steve Field. Steve Field thought that it was a good option to deal with tires from an environmental perspective. The product may be used in cement kilns or industrial boilers. Field remarked that the tire shredding facility did have a fire at the Knoxville facility and if something like that happened "It can be a mess." 


According to a trade magazine " MTR Inc., the Southeast's largest collector and processor of scrap tires and other scrap rubber with facilities and operations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi processing more than 15 Million tires annually."


LCSWDC Loudon commissioner Robert Harrison shared his concerns with the Monterey Drive location, it was more with visibility and the adverse affect with Tennessee National. "We're determined to be a good neighbor to Tennessee National" commented Harrison. "And you" added LCSWDC commissioner Tellico Villager Bill Waldrop. Us poor people on the other side of the hill replied someone from the audience. This put to rest many concerns of Matlock Bend and Lenoir City residents about the tire shredding (recycling) process locating in Matlock Bend or somewhere else in Loudon County.  


Commission requested an evaluation of this company and recommendation from the Solid Waste Commission. Questions and concerns lingers on, why didn't the Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission publicly disclose to Commission, the history of three fires at the Knoxville tire recycling process facility in a year? Why did the Solid Waste Commission want to locate this process near a propane business and residential neighborhoods?


click to see East Knoxville tire fire may burn for days



click to see  Fire crews on scene day 2 at E. Knoxville tire recycling plant



click to see TDEC: Tire company sustained series of fires


"The state is investigating a Knoxville tire recycling company it says has sustained three fires in a year, including Thursday night's blaze."


The MTR fires incidents were reported by the Knoxville press including the Knoxville News Sentinel and lots of TV coverage. What are we suppose to believe that our county officials (commissioners, mayor, solid waste commissioners) didn't know a thing about the fires but were willing to very quietly fast track and locate this facility in Loudon County until citizens voiced their concerns about safety and property value issues?  Who's watching out for the citizens?



Commissioner David Meers - January 25, 2010 Workshop meeting


Tire shredding process looks at Loudon County- how it all started


In late January 2010, citizens at the commission workshop meetings learned about the possibility of MTR tire shredding recycle business exploring the idea of relocating in Loudon County at two possible sites. On the surface a recycling facility sounds like a good idea until fire issues surfaced months later. This request was contingent upon obtaining a TDEC permit and a review of the company and recommendation from the Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission and Commission's approval of the Jackson Law. The Solid Waste Commission was supposed to examine the "environmental appropriateness" of the tire shredding process business and send back a recommendation back to Commission. It seems that the Solid Waste Commission forgot to mention the fire incidents publicly at Commission workshop meetings.


At the Jan. 25, 2010 commission workshop meeting, Loudon Commissioner David Meers introduced a spokesperson from MTR and Solid Waste Chairman Steve Field. The tire shredding facility was first thinking about relocating in Meers district. Meers said that he received an email from Mayor Arp. Meers explained that Commissioner Nancy Marcus had met at 3:00 P.M. and he met at 3:30 P.M. to discuss the matter with Chairman Steve Field and Mr. Chadwell with MTR. He suggested the possibility of a called meeting before the next workshop for Commission action. The Solid Waste Commission would give a recommendation back to Commission. But Commissioner Meers attitude and enthusiasm about locating this process industry seemed to wane once he heard opposition from his constituents at the next Solid Waste Commission meeting.


But, at the subsequent February 9, 2010 Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission meeting, someone asked about the fire incident at the Knoxville tire shredding facility. The meeting minutes indicate that Commissioner Meers was present and spoke at the meeting. Matlock Bend residents were concerned about the tire shredding facility wanting to locate adjacent to a propane tank business. A letter from Tennessee National voiced opposition about the adverse affect on property values; Tennessee National is an exclusive lakefront gated community.


But when the original plans for that location fell through, a 2nd location was proposed in the Lenoir City Industrial Park at the Ft. Loudoun Terminal, this time in an urban area near a children's park, public housing, residential neighborhoods and churches. The Ft. Loudon Terminal site was very appealing because of the barge transportation feature but TDEC would not approve that location for a tire shredding processing facility because of the 100 year flood plain and the possibility of residue and contaminants entering the river and travelling downstream. TDEC was willing to consider other options or use such as a storage facility location but not for shredding processing of tires.


One curious thing, there was no notification by the County or Solid Waste Commission to surrounding property owners seeking public input about MTR wanting to locate at the barge terminal location or even Matlock Bend site. 


A couple of solid waste commissioners (Harrison and Field) traveled to Nashville to inspect the tire shredding facility there.


The MTR Nashville facility was located in a heavy industrial area with no residential neighborhoods in close proximity from that facility. Nothing like what they were proposing in Lenoir City where a public housing unit and neighborhood is located, just a couple of city blocks away.


At the April 5, 2010 Commission meeting, I shared information about the fire incidents in Knoxville. I urged Commission to make the safety and health of County residents a priority when approving another location in Loudon County. And, I requested that Commission notify all  property owners within close proximity of any future site of the tire shredding processing facility.






Click to see April 05, 2010 Loudon County Commission Meeting Minutes -  Non-Agenda Items

Chairman Bledsoe asked that any visitor wishing to address the Commission

Comments: regarding items not on the Agenda come forward.

 Pat Hunter came forward to express her concern for the health and safety of County

residents regarding the intent of MTR to locate a tire recycling facility in Loudon

County. She cited research she has done which she believes reveals a poor safety and

disclosure of potential health hazards record by MTR. She urged the Commissioners

to make the safety and health of County residents a priority concern in their

deliberations on approving this facility for Loudon County.