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September 24, 2019

Guidance and Clarity on Waste Tires 2019

DEC has extended the use of enforcement discretion for waste tires used to cover feed bunks. We will continue to work with DEC to develop workable tire recycling or disposal solutions. This extension is good until May 3, 2021 unless new rules are issued before then.

In a previous article on Guidance and Clarity on Waste Tires we explained the outcome from efforts by NYFB, NEDPA and PRO-DAIRY to work with DEC to address regulations that were announced regarding waste tires for use on farms to hold down tarpaulin covers. This work set the groundwork for DEC to announce it would use its enforcement discretion in accordance with a previously issued Beneficial Use Determination letter issued on December 4, 2014, where it was announced that farms could continue to use waste tires for bunk silos so long as certain conditions were met.

On September 19, 2019, DEC updated guidance for solid waste management activities. In effect, through “enforcement discretion”, this guidance extends the use of whole tires for covering bunks through May 3, 2021 (unless new rules are issued before then) AND so long as farms continue to follow conditions that are outlined in a December 4, 2014 Beneficial Use Determination letter for use of waste tires to hold down covers for agricultural bunker silos. It is important to review the conditions needed in order for each farm to use the Beneficial Use Determination.

BUD 1137-0-00 refers generally to ensuring the amount of tires received at a farm does not exceed the number needed for bunker silos. No method is prescribed to limit this number, so the farmer should be able to show, if necessary, that tires on the site are a reasonable number based on common practice for securing silo and storage tarps and the farmer’s silo/storage capacity. The number of tires on the farm are to be related to the number of tires needed to cover the bunks. Tires that are not in use are kept at the farm need to be stored away from combustible materials and ignition sources. The farm needs to have procedures in place that minimizes standing water and insect breeding during storage, see below. Farms can use other methods to meet these conditions. The policy goal is to reduce insect breeding locations and the associated disease concerns by ensuring that tires are not sitting in piles, unused for years and the state wants these tires properly disposed of.

These procedures could include:

  • Keep vegetation down around stacks/piles of tires when not in use on the bunk. This can help tires dry out faster and retain less water
  • Put tires that are not in use under cover (tarp or building) to reduce water build-up
  • Stack tires neatly so that minimum amounts of water can accumulate
  • Rims can be kept in place in tires, which can prevent retention of water

We expect to have more dialog with DEC to develop more widely available and viable recycling options for unneeded tires. It is possible that mobile chippers could help solve the transportation problem due to needed permits and the bulkiness of tires, but this type of solution will take time to work out. We hope to provide more information on this topic as discussions with DEC continues. Farmers are reminded that burial or burning of tires are expressly prohibited. If you choose to dispose of tires, before taking tires to permitted disposal locations, farmers should call ahead to find out if there are certain requirements, such as cleaning the tires, before they can be accepted at a disposal facility.

We continue to work with DEC to find a practical solution that will be workable for farms across the state. As information changes, updates will be provided.


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