The Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has been implementing amendments to State Law No. 41 of July 2009, known as “Law for the Management of Discarded Tires in Puerto Rico.” The amendments to the law seek to correct problems related to the management of funds and to oversee the management of the discarded tires charged through paper manifests. Under the previous law there was a deficit of more than $23 million. The Puerto Rico Department of Justice is conducting a legal investigation on various irregularities related to the reimbursement requests. EQB restructured the program in order to audit the tire recycling industry in Puerto Rico and ensure the correct use of public funds. The government needed to have a reliable system to monitor the discarded tires generated by 4,000 generators, handled by transporters and delivered to exporting facilities, while maintaining a balanced budget in their fund. The EQB promulgated the Regulation for the Management and Disposal of Discarded Tires and adopted an electronic manifest system called TeleGoma.
TeleGoma is an accessible, flexible, expandable, and user-friendly system that provides for monitoring inventory level at private businesses to track discarded tires as they are generated, transported, and disposed, recycled, or reused. The objectives of the system are to control storage, enforce against non-compliance, and collect taxes in order to provide incentives. The system simplifies the workflow between public and private sectors with no additional cost to users. Also, it minimizes the paper processes and the potential for fraud.
Under the current system, the regulated community (storage, transporter, recycling, exporter, processor, and final disposal facilities) need to have an account number and unique access code to access the system to report inventory, delivery, and receipt of discarded tires. When the facility submits a report, the system automatically generates a confirmation number that allows the EQB to know who has the tires and where the tires are.
The system includes various interfaces:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – provides access to all users.
- Website – provides expanded functionality for reporting.
- Mobile phone applications – provides functionality.
- The Scale EDI interface – facilitates direct reporting from disposal facility scales to the system.
- Data processing Engine – automatically generates manifest, invoices and non-compliance actions, such as, audit cases or warning correspondence. Also provides to EQB staff an automated workflow for all processes, including authorizing or suspending permits, approving invoices, investigating audit cases, facilitating correspondence, and maintaining data and reports.
Results to Date:
There have been 4,414 accounts created, and 1,217 are active accounts.
Cruz A. Matos
Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board