Polk County Sheriff's Environmental Crimes deputies, working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), arrested two men on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, after locating over 8,000 tires they had gathered as part of their business and then illegally dumped in Lake Wales.
On Tuesday, February 21st, deputies received information that a large amount of tires could be seen from the roadway piled up under a pole barn at a private residence located at 5310 Sand Dollar Road located in Lake Wales Estates, Lake Wales. PCSO Environmental Crimes deputies and agents with FDEP responded to the residence and saw the pole barn, with approximately 7,800 tires piled within, and a semi box trailer parked nearby, containing another 500 tires, apparently waiting to be offloaded.
Deputies interviewed Robert Bickford, DOB 6/30/1981, who lives at the Sand Dollar Road address, who informed them that his employer, Kenneth M. Lowman, DOB 10/21/1943, of 477 Enclave Place in Lakeland, paid him to let Lowman's business Greenway Tire dump the tires there.
Lowman's company, Greenway Tire, located in Lakeland, is only permitted to transport waste tires. The business profits by collecting and removing waste tires from smaller businesses, such as automotive centers. The business is then responsible for transporting the tires to a licensed, permitted waste tire or tire recycling facility. Instead, Lowman had tractor-trailer loads of tires delivered to Bickford's property. The property owned by Bickford is not licensed to store or process waste tires. The waste tires deputies found there were within 200 feet of a natural body of water, and less than 500 feet from a potable well. Deputies also found evidence that the tires were being illegally burned on the property.
Lowman was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on one felony count of Illegal Dumping. He has been released on bail.
Bickford was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count each Failure to Obtain Waste Tire Permit, Storage of Waste Tires at a Non-Permitted Facility, Open Burning Within 50 Feet of a Residence, Storage of Waste Tires Within 200 Feet of Natural Water, Storage of Waste Tires Within 500 Feet of Potable Water Supply, Burning of Rubber Material, Burning of Prohibited Materials, and Storage of Solida Waste at Unpermitted Facility. He remains in the Polk County Jail on $4500 bond.
The FDEP has on ongoing investigation in reference to the lack of permits held by the business.