*Editor’s note: This is a followup to a Complete Colorado exclusive published on August 24.
WINDSOR — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says it never shut down a shingle recycling business in Windsor; however, the business is inoperable until officials make a final determination concerning what its main purpose is.
“We issued a compliance advisory and completed an inspection report,” said Kelly MacGregor, communication specialist for CDPHE. “The facility was not told to shut down. After the inspection, we informed the operator that asphalt shingles are unfortunately not a recyclable material, so the operator is in violation of the Solid Waste Act and regulations.”
The owner of the company, Howard Brand, disagrees. He said he only learned of CDPHE’s reasoning after CDPHE told operators of the railroad facility and they informed Brand. Brand said CDPHE representative Wolf Kray told him he would get a report when asked why he was being shut down.
It now appears CDPHE is putting the bulk of the decision on whether Brand can reopen on officials from the town of Windsor.
Windsor Mayor Kristie Melendez said she has spoken with CDPHE representatives and is aware of the issues they have with the facility, which is centered around the way the shingles are stored and whether they can be recycled.
“The facility has [more than 1,300 ton] of waste asphalt shingles and other roofing debris discarded on the ground,” a letter from CDPHE to Brand and Ryan Holm from Rocky Mountain Transload, reads in part. “Per the division’s policy, waste asphalt shingles are not a recyclable material. Therefore, the facility is operating as a solid waste disposal site without a certificate of designation.”
The letter also says the facility does not meet the definition or regulatory requirements of a transfer station.
Brand says his company does not dispose of anything and his process is not a recycling process but a manufacturing one. In fact, he asserts they are helping landfills and the environment by diverting tons of used asphalt roofing shingles from the landfill to a processing plant out of state so that he can manufacture oil, gravel, and fiberglass from the shingles.
He says he holds multiple patents for the process, which is at the heart of the matter, as most see asphalt shingles as a product that cannot successfully be recycled. Regardless of whether one believes the process is possible, Brand says he is not a landfill by sheer definition. He does not store the shingles at the Windsor site. They are taken out of state to a processing facility almost as fast as they are collected. The shingles currently on site are there because CDPHE told the railroad operators no more shingles could be shipped out, Brand said.
The letter says Brand has 30 days to begin a permitting process for obtaining a designation as a solid waste disposal site or remove and dispose of all shingles currently at the facility.
Melendez said the town attorney, town manager, and others understand the urgency of this and are working diligently to make sure they have the answers in place they need to approve the facility.
Melendez said Windsor officials just need to be sure they are following the regulations the Town of Windsor has in place.
“We are trying to see what is actually going on out there before we create a determination or letter of support,” Melendez said. “Our folks have some concerns with how he has the shingles lying on the ground. We are mandated by the feds for wastewater and storm protection. So, we have to be careful we are in compliance.”
Melendez said she will not stand in the way of someone who has a legitimate and good recycling business, but Windsor needs to do due diligence in making sure they are not a dumping station.
“I want to make sure all sides are doing what they are supposed to do,” Melendez said. “We need to determine they can show us they can continue to proceed under Windsor rules. We certainly don’t want to prevent a legitimate business especially along these lines.”