A Washington state regulator said Monday that the service industry has “unacceptable” practices that threaten to pollute waterways and pose risks to human health and the environment.
The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued its findings in a report after it said an investigation found that industrial tire service was failing to ensure that tires are sanitized and properly cleaned before they are shipped to consumers.
The industry has been under scrutiny in recent years over its handling of marine tire contamination.
In December, a California state panel concluded that tire manufacturers are in compliance with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which require companies to provide clean-up workers to deal with the toxic waste generated by their products.
But the agency found that the tire industry did not meet that standard in the three years between 2007 and 2011, when inspectors visited factories in the state and found hazardous waste.
In a statement, the Washington State Department of Ecology said the state found that “the tire service industry in the Washington region, including the City of Seattle, has significant issues regarding its ability to meet the requirements of the Clean Environment Protection Act.”
The agency’s report says that a recent inspection found that a factory at a Seattle facility was not using a proper process for cleaning tires after they were used on ships.
“In addition to its lack of proper tire sanitization practices, this factory also failed to provide workers with sufficient training, which could potentially contribute to the growth of marine toxicant-contaminated tires in Puget Sound and surrounding waters,” the agency said.
The agency said the investigation found “that there was insufficient oversight by the industry’s own workers and the state of Washington’s own agencies, including enforcement of the state’s regulations, oversight of hazardous waste disposal, and oversight of marine transportation operations.”
The report says the industry has also failed “to ensure that tire production practices comply with the requirements in the Clean Environmental Protection Act and other federal and state laws.”
It said it has not yet received any public comment on the findings.