EDGEMOOR, Delaware (WPVI) -- A group of Delaware residents is concerned about an illegal tire dump on state-owned land.
And it's no little dump, by some estimates, it's 10,000 tons of scrap tires.
Residents say the mountains of old and shredded tires are an environmental hazard and a breeding ground for mosquitos.
The state ordered the tires to be removed from the site in Edgemoor, Delaware, a year ago, but they still remain.
"So I was immediately alarmed at the size and the potential impacts," said resident Simeon Hahn.
Residents, including Hahn and Jeff Richardson, first saw the images earlier this year.
"If they catch on fire, which has happened before, with tire piles, that's a major, major problem," noted Hahn.
"This is a very glaring example of a massive breakdown in the enforcement of regulations," added Richardson.
The two blame state officials for allowing it. They want to know how it happened and when it'll be cleaned up.
"There's almost like a wall of silence," said Richardson.
The site is part of the Port of Wilmington and is owned by the state. In 2018 the state entity that ran it, the Diamond State Port Corporation, leased the property to a company called Gulftainer which is based in the Middle East.
The company said at the time it would invest nearly $600 million to redevelop the port and build a new container terminal on the site. It was hailed to bring thousands of jobs.
"So far, we got a bunch of tires on the site," said Hahn.
In late 2021, the state fire marshal was alerted to the tire dump.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) issued a Cease and Desist order in June of last year, citing Gulftainer and a Bronx-based company S&A Marketing, which incorporation records say deals in chemicals and allied products.
The order states neither company had a permit to store the used tires and ordered them to issue a cleanup plan.
Once approved, cleanup was ordered and completed within 60 days.
Attempts by the Investigative Team to reach S&A Marketing were unsuccessful.
Gulftainer had no comment.
"Do you think the state has been a poor landlord here?" asked Action News' Chad Pradelli.
"Very much so," replied Hahn.
DNREC told Action News neither company complies. The order calls for fines of $400 a day.
The Diamond State Port Corporation, whose Chairman is DE Secretary of State, Jeffrey Bullock, wouldn't answer most of our questions and instead released the following statement:
"The Diamond State Port Corporation has made it clear to Gulftainer that the scrap tires at Edgemoor should be removed immediately by the responsible party. Gulftainer has gone to court to get legal possession of the tires and has advised the DSPC that it has a plan. We have asked for that plan in writing and for the plan to be executed promptly."
"They didn't come here overnight," said Hahn. "And they're not going to be gone overnight."
An audit of the Port Corporation last year showed Gulftainer behind on its lease payments by more than $4 million.
We tried to get a current figure but the state agency wouldn't provide it, and we voiced our concerns about transparency.
Residents are now concerned taxpayers could be stuck footing the bill for the cleanup.