• 61°

Massive tire cleanup could take at least a week

Michael Rawlins, with Liberty Tire Service, uses a skid loader to haul tires out of a ravine located on a property off of County Road 6 Wednesday morning. The Ohio EPA has authorized the removal of 5,000 of these tires.

KITTS HILL — The intermittent downpours and the mud it created on Wednesday didn’t daunt the start of what local environmentalists are calling the biggest tire cleanup in Lawrence County.

That’s when the Ohio EPA came in to begin the removal of approximately 5,000 tires dumped down a ravine on acreage off County Road 6 without the knowledge of the property owner.

“From what I am told, this lady inherited property and was putting it up for sale and found all these tires,” Dan Palmer, director of the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District, said. “They were not aware of it.”

Both Palmer’s organization and the Ohio EPA conducted separate investigations into the dumping and came to the same conclusion — the property owner was unaware of the dumping and not liable for the cleanup.

“Because we don’t have a responsible party here and the quantity is under 5,000, the costs are absorbed through the scrap tire fund,” Mike Settles, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, said.

In 1993 the Ohio General Assembly passed the scrap tire management law that provides a funding mechanism for the recovery and recycling of used tires. Off of each tire sold in the state $1 from that price goes into the fund.

“Our initial goal was to go after bigger sites,” Settles said. “There were a lot across the state. But after nearly 20 years fortunately we are down to smaller sites.”

All day Tuesday Liberty Tire Service from Columbus brought heavy equipment including a dozer and winch truck to the site in preparation for the removal that is expected to take at least a week.

“It could take longer because of weather conditions,” Settles said.

Crews haul the tires up the ravine and temporarily store them at the top of hill. They will then take them to their facility.

“One hundred percent of the tires are recycled,” Settles said.

Cost for the removal is estimated to be $35,000, all of which will be covered by the state.