Photo by James Moss
A pile of shingles at Oneway Construction has led to an investigation by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and complaints of nails on a nearby road. “It’s a bad situation all around,” Steve Willaredt, Granite City building and zoning administrator, says.
GRANITE CITY — A Granite City construction company has come under fire for a recycling endeavor that neighbors and officials describe as a hazard and an eyesore.
Oneway Construction is facing possible action from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency after violating the terms of its beneficial use determination, or BUD, according to the IEPA.
Beneficial use determinations allow businesses to keep materials like shingles on a property if it is determined there’s a beneficial use for the materials. Otherwise, the materials are viewed as waste and disposal is required.
“If somebody has a waste product that they’re essentially recycling, they can come in and get a beneficial use determination if they demonstrate that they’ve got a legitimate recycling process going on,” Kyle Rominger, acting manager for the division of land and pollution control at the IEPA, said. “There’s conditions in the BUD, sort of like a permit, on how they need to operate. So (the owner of Oneway Construction) was issued one of those. They are currently out of compliance with that.”
The problem arose after the company began collecting shingles at its Granite City location for the recycling arm of its business. Granite City Building and Zoning Administrator Steve Willaredt said the company became out of compliance because it began accepting shingles for the shingle recycling part of its business before it had obtained the necessary permits. Without that permission, Oneway Construction could not begin recycling the shingles, resulting in a pileup of materials.
“They kept taking in product and nothing was going out,” Willaredt said.
“When we first heard about it, they were accepting some shingles without having a permit or a BUD, and we issued a violation notice to them at that time,” Rominger said. “What they did was they came in and they could have gotten a permit or a BUD, and they chose to get the BUD. I believe they got the BUD and started accepting shingles again, but we found out since then that they are not (in compliance).”
Oneway Construction owner Tony Lanzone said the violation was actually due to the Illinois Department of Transportation dragging its feet.
“It took IDOT a long time to approve my material so that I could sell it,” Lanzone said. “So that’s the only reason I was out of compliance, and I’m actually getting back into compliance. I’ve got contracts for everything that go over and above. So, really, it’s an allegation at this point.”
Willaredt first learned of the situation because he received a few calls complaining about nails on the nearby road as a result of loads of shingles being brought to the site. He said Oneway Construction is now responsible for sweeping up the road daily to clear it of any nails that may have spilled during transportation of the shingles.
Many of the complaints came from the Weber Chevrolet dealership near the construction company. Jeff Kohler, the dealership’s general manager, said they have had approximately 30 people come in with flat tires in the last year.
“We’ve had several flat tires with roofing nails in the tires,” he said. “We’ve still had a few issues, but it has gotten better.”
Lanzone said if the nails have become a big issue, it’s news to him.
“I’ve only had three different people in the three years I’ve been there come in and say they’ve got nails in their tires, and I took care of them right away,” he said. “I don’t really think there’s an issue with the nails. I haven’t had an ungodly amount of people complaining about it. There’s been tornadoes in the area and storms. Not every nail that gets in a tire comes from my location.”
Kohler said Oneway Construction has paid to repair some of the 30 flat tires his workplace has seen. Willaredt said it was his understanding people whose tires were damaged because of the spilled nails could contact the company, which would pay for the repair.
“They would have to talk to (Oneway Construction),” Willaredt said. “They would take the bill for the repair to them, and from what I’ve talked to with the owners, they will honor it. As far as I know, they’re trying to take care of it. I think they know there has been an issue and they’re trying to fix it.”
Rominger said IEPA’s investigation came about because of Oneway Construction not complying with their BUD, not the piles of shingles or nails on the road, though he did acknowledge those could cause some problems.
“Mostly, it’s a nuisance factor,” he said. “If there’s nails on the road, that would be a nuisance. And piles of shingles could have a scenic blight.”
Kohler agreed, saying the pile of shingles hurt “the aesthetics of Granite City.”
“It still doesn’t help that we’re looking at that back there and the eyesore,” Kohler said. “To me, it looks like a landfill.”
Lanzone said it was his impression he was now in good standing with the IEPA.
“I think it’s OK because in May, they said the city was pushing them to enforce something on me because I guess they had received a complaint about the nails from somebody,” he said. “And they hadn’t really seen any movement of the material at the site. So I went to the city and said, ‘If there’s anything you need to know, just ask.’ So I started giving them a report to satisfy them, and I guess they’re not pushing the issue anymore.”
At this point, Rominger said the IEPA referred the case to the Illinois attorney general, the typical protocol for a situation like this.
“They are under a referral for enforcement,” Rominger said. “The attorney general may seek a penalty. Ultimately (the goal is) to get them back into compliance and make sure they are complying with the BUD.”
Rominger said the IEPA will assist the attorney general with the case. The next step could include a suit brought against Oneway Construction in an attempt to bring the company into compliance.
A sign posted on the premises informs motorists that Oneway Construction is not responsible for damage to vehicles.