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Coles County Auto Salvage Yard

Coles County Auto Salvage Yard, located south of Oakland, is shown Wednesday afternoon. A lawsuit the Illinois Attorney General's Office filed this week accuses the business of illegal tire burning and other violations.

CHARLESTON -- A state inspection of a rural Coles County salvage yard found about 200 burned tires and several thousand more disposed of or stored improperly.

That's according to a lawsuit the Illinois Attorney General's Office has filed against the owners of Coles County Auto Salvage Yard, which is also accused of business record violations.

The lawsuit also accuses owners Richard and Monika Purdy of never registering the salvage yard to do business in the state.

The legal action is the result of an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency inspection of the salvage yard on Feb. 23, 2017, following a citizen complaint about tire burning there, according to the lawsuit.

The salvage yard is located on Coles County Road 1470N, just west of the Oakland-Ashmore Road about four miles south of Oakland. 

A phone number for the salvage yard was no longer in service and attempts to find contact information for the Purdys were unsuccessful. There did not appear to be anyone at the business site Wednesday afternoon.

The lawsuit's allegations concerning the approximately 15,000 tires at the location include that some were overgrown with vegetation and contained standing water.

It says that was in addition to the burning, some of which took place near other combustible materials and without precautions to keep the fire from spreading.

The lawsuit also includes allegations that the tire burning resulted in air contamination and open dumping violations.

It also says that, during the same inspection, the IEPA discovered business violations including failing to notify the agency about the disposal activity and not keeping daily and annual tire disposal records.

A statement the Attorney General's Office released about the legal action said contact with the defendants resulted in an agreement last year to remove the tires.

However, the agency filed the lawsuit because not all issues have been resolved, it said.

The lawsuit asks for a court order to stop the collection and burning of tires and to remove and properly dispose of waste at the site. It also seeks an injunction to halt further violations and an unspecified amount of fines.

The lawsuit was filed in Coles County earlier this week and there are no hearing dates yet scheduled.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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