Concerns raised over old tires stored at Sibley business

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Concerns are being raised about the ever increasing number of old tires stacking up at Benson Environmental.

The Webster Parish Police Jury is looking into strengthening the lease between them and the company. Juror Steve Ramsey fears the increasing stock of old tires will turn into a situation like Camp Minden in that the jury will be responsible for cleaning up the old tires if Benson closes its doors.

“I don’t know how many truckloads a day they bring in, but he’s (the owner) not making any progress on getting that stuff taken care of,” Ramsey said. “We need to do something. I don’t know what we can do.”

Other concerns he raised is the company is behind on its lease payments and has not provided documentation on insurance they are required to have, Ramsey says. Police Jury Secretary Treasurer Ronda Carnahan says Benson has $1 million bond insurance, which is liability insurance, in the lease agreement.

Benson Environmental, located off of Crichton Road in Sibley, is a company that takes in old tires, shreds them and disposes of them.

“We need to do something to put some teeth into (the lease),” Juror Jerri Lee said.
Some discussion took place as to how the company works, some of the rules and regulations they must follow and some chemical breakdowns as tires decompose.

They agreed to get Graydon Kitchens, attorney and retired judge, to look at the lease and see if it would be feasible to add a cleanup clause into it. Benson’s their lease is up in 2016, and there are still questions because Benson is delinquent in its lease payments.

Other questions Kitchens posed included whether there was any inspections taking place and which agency handles those inspections.

Juror Daniel Thomas says if the lease is renewed, then an inspection by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality clause needs to be included, adding old tires become hazardous as they break down.

“There’s different things in tires, but they break down so slowly that if you have one laying in your yard, it probably wouldn’t hurt anything,” Thomas said. “But if you have 500,000 out there and they’re breaking down, it becomes serious.”

This item will be put back on the agenda for the May road committee meeting.

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