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Paradise Valley residents upset about proposal for a tire landfill

Paradise Valley residents upset about proposal for a tire landfill
CARLY FLANDRO, Chronicle Staff Writer | Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:15 am

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Or to further describe a Paradise Valley controversy: One man’s proposed site for a tire dump is some people’s beloved, pristine ranchland.

Michael and Magdalene Adkins have proposed turning 11 acres of land about two miles north of Pray into a landfill, where as many as 5,000 tires could be dumped each day. Their neighbors, many of whom live on small ranches and came to the area for its beauty, aren’t happy.

They’ll have a chance to voice their concerns tonight at a public meeting held by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Emigrant Community Hall.

The DEQ released an environmental assessment of the proposed landfill last month. In the document, the agency seemed to support approving the landfill because there is a need for the service and because the facility, according to the DEQ, likely would not pose a risk to human health.

It is “unlikely” that the DEQ will deny the application, according to the document.

But neighbors are hoping otherwise.

“I don’t like the idea of a tire dump in Paradise Valley, or right across the street from me,” said Tony Eaton, a television producer who lives adjacent to the proposed landfill. “Surely there are more industrial areas in the state and in the local area where they could put the tire dump.”

The proposed landfill would operate for about 20 years and could hold 280,000 tons of tires.

Those numbers don’t sit well with Eaton.

“Obviously there’s a huge impact, not to mention the odor, the pollution, and the possibility of a tire fire,” he said.

He hopes the DEQ will reconsider the permit, but said he doesn’t see a way “to stop this train.”

Tracy Raich, a real estate broker (www.tracyraich.com) who also lives near the proposed landfill, described where she lives as a “ranching and recreational community.”

“It’s one of the most beautiful valleys in Montana. This is what draws people to this community,” she said. “An operation like (the landfill) will hinder property values in the area.”

Another neighbor said she was also upset about the proposal but didn’t want to be named.

The proposed site is near the intersection of East River and Chicory roads. Part of the land was formerly a gravel pit that operated between approximately 1948 and 1965.

Currently there are only four other tire-only disposal facilities in Montana.

“The population, land use, and development of land surrounding the proposed monofill facility are sparse, minimizing the potential risk of adverse effects on human health due to the unlikely release of pollutants to the environment from the operation for the proposed facility,” the DEQ document said.

The document also said the landfill will likely have “only minor, if any, impact on aesthetics.”

A call to Michael Adkins was not returned.

Comments on the environmental assessment will be accepted until March 1 and may be submitted via email to wutbcomments@mt.gov. They may also be mailed to Waste and Underground Tank Management Bureau, Solid Waste Program, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620-0901.

Carly Flandro may be reached at 582-2638 or cflandro@dailychronicle.com.

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