The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Two Brothers LLC over an improper tire dump near Winston.
DEQ said it has received complaints about the pile of tires, and the Muffley Lane site is currently under review for a solid waste management and resource recovery license.
The DEQ letter told the company to "immediately discontinue hauling, processing, and managing any additional waste tires on the property. At this time, no tire cutting/processing is to be conducted on the property, and there is to be no additional storage of waste tires on the Property" until the company obtains a license.
The letter goes on to say that if the company fails to get a license from DEQ, it will be forced to remove all the tires and waste "associated with the waste tire processing operations from the Property."
John Willoughby, a Broadwater County resident, said a group of nearly 70 residents had begun meeting to put pressure on the Broadwater County Commission to do something about the dump.
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"Our objective is to make sure they don't get licenses" to dump tires, Willoughby said. "We've spoken to legal counsel and are prepared to bring it to the courts."
Broadwater County Commissioner Laura Obert said the company did not follow many of DEQ's requirements for safe storage. For example, the wrong kind of fencing was used and the tires were not covered as needed, she said.
"Winston is seeing a mountain of tires," Obert said, adding that the county is currently in "fact-finding mode."
"We're gathering information and responding to an environmental assessment when it comes out," Obert said. "We don't have enough information to make a decision yet."
A message left at a phone number associated with Darko Smilovic, an owner of Two Brothers Tires LLC, was not immediately returned.