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EPA official gauges progress of tire dump

ATHALIA — Efforts are continuing to clean a local eyesore and potential public health hazard.

Thursday, February 22, 2001

ATHALIA — Efforts are continuing to clean a local eyesore and potential public health hazard.

Clint Shuff, an environmental specialist for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, met with county officials in Athalia Wednesday to survey the progress of cleaning up a tire dump.

Shuff said the tire dump was formerly owned by Dennis Kelley, an attorney in Ashland, Ky. Kelley leased the site to Dave Jackson and Shuff said complaints first came in to the EPA in 1995.

Jackson, Shuff said, is currently serving an eight-year prison term stemming from the dump site.

The clean-up started in April 1999, funded by a supplemental environmental project grant. Currently $6,500 is left for the project.

Shuff said progress has been made at the site. He said the site contained an estimated 400,000 to 450,000 tires at the beginning of the project. Now, the tires have been reduced to three piles.

Shuff said it is important for the clean up to continue because of environmental concerns, especially fire and a public health hazards.

"Tires are the ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes," Shuff said, adding the insects carry vector-born diseases such as encephalitis that can affect animals and humans.

Brian Fancher, the current property owner, said he was pleased with the work being done on the site.

"They’re doing a very good job," he said. "Things are starting to look up. Now I know that I have support behind me, I know I can do something with the property."

Fancher said plans are in the works to reclaim the land and turn it into a business property. He has plans to convert the property to a gas station or into a restaurant.

Pointing across a field towards the river, Fancher said "look at the view, this would be a great place to open a business."