Two asphalt shingle recycling businesses were fined more than $34,000 for violating state environmental rules for operations in Denton County, according to default orders approved in Austin this week.
Dallas-based U.S. Innovations was fined $15,700 for violations at its site, located at 5120 E. University Drive. Another company, Central State Shingle Recycling, based in Moore, Okla., was fined $18,375 for violations at three sites, two in Denton County and one in Tarrant County.
According to state records, someone complained to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in June 2011 that U.S. Innovations may have been operating its recycling operations in eastern Denton without a permit. The state report showed about 44,000 cubic yards of asphalt shingles and other roofing waste, including wood pallets and scrap metals, had been left at the site.
The phone number published on the company’s website was disconnected.
A spokesman for Central State Shingle Recycling said Texas regulators changed the rules six months after his business came to North Texas in the wake of catastrophic hail storms in spring 2011. As a result, millions of tons of recyclable material will likely be heading to landfills, he said.
Scott Yelton said he believed his business, which operates in several states, followed the rules Texas has for setting up a site.
Inspectors visited the company’s Denton County sites in Lewisville and Hebron, and the Blue Mound site in Tarrant County, several times without incident for the first six months.
He learned he had to get a $2 million reclamation bond.
Only cities and big waste management companies can afford such a bond, because the premium is the full amount of the bond, Yelton said.
“Texas is the worst state to be in the recycling business,” he said.
Yelton said he offered to take the material at all three sites to one of his other locations out of state, but was told he needed to take the materials to a landfill.
TCEQ officials said that conversation did take place, but that the agency had agreed hauling the shingles out of state was acceptable, if the shingles went to an authorized recycling operation, according to agency spokesman Terry Clawson.
However, the material was not removed, Clawson said in an e-mail.
In addition, the bond is required for outdoor storage of combustible materials, so that remediation is paid for if the responsible party abandons the site, Clawson wrote.
TCEQ promotes “legitimate recycling in many ways,” he wrote. “For example, the TCEQ provides a tiered approach to the regulation of recycling whereby an entity that increases the amount it recycles can reduce their regulatory burden.”
The agency provides free, confidential compliance assistance to recyclers. Since 2009, it has helped 1,215 recycling businesses understand the state’s environmental rules, Clawson said.
The default order includes written comments from the mayor of Carrollton, Matthew Marchant, who said that gray material could be seen in storm water runoff from the Hebron recycling site. Marchant’s comments supported the state’s default order, which includes enhancements to the fine for the impact on the environment.
According to state records, the company’s Lewisville site contained 1,091 cubic yards of asphalt shingles, the Blue Mound site contained 1,250 cubic yards of shingles and the Hebron site contained 5,000 cubic yards of shingles. All three sites were also cited for having other kinds of waste, including scrap metal.
In all, TCEQ commissioners approved $322,950 in penalties levied on 27 entities this week.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .