Haines salvage business appeals $10,000 penalty levied by state DEQ
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a $10,000 penalty to Sam Haines Enterprises LLC, a scrap metal salvage business, for openly burning prohibited materials, including waste tires, on property it leases at Wingville Road and Highway 30 near Haines.
Haines Enterprises has appealed the penalty.
The DEQ said burning tires emit dense smoke plumes and thus pose a threat to the public and environment.
The smoke creates a nuisance and poses a threat to the health of the young, elderly and those with respiratory conditions, the DEQ said. Toxic chemical exposure can result from the substances found in the materials burned on the property, according to the agency.
After receiving a citizen complaint on Feb. 22 that tires were being burned at the property, the DEQ contacted the Baker Rural Fire District. It did not conduct an inspection. However, local police and federal Bureau of Land Management staff observed the smoke and entered the property on their own initiative to investigate.
They reported to DEQ that two active fires at the site contained 10 burning tires. Steel belting from the remnants of at least 10 other tires that had been completely burned was also observed, the DEQ said.
The DEQ also charges that Sam Haines, the principal of Sam Haines Enterprises, and his employees were present on the property but made no attempt to extinguish the burn piles until requested to do so by the BLM and police officials.
Tire storage is regulated in Oregon. Sam Haines Enterprises is licensed by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to store a large number of tires on the property.
According to the DEQ, the company did not take measures to ensure that the stored tires were protected from fire risks.