Saturday, May 10, 2003

Tired of your old tires? Now's your chance

State again taking in rubber, without penalty

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - The tire amnesty is back.

A popular statewide tire amnesty program is revisiting Northern Kentucky next month after a four-year absence.

The Waste Tire Trust Fund's goal is simple: Get rid of used tires so they don't litter the commonwealth's landscape and create health and safety hazards.

Where: Boone County: Public Works Department, 5645 Idlewild Road, Burlington; Kenton County, state maintenance garage, 3923 Madison Pike, Covington; Campbell County Road Department, Racetrack Road at the entrance to A.J. Jolly Park.
When: Boone County, June 9-15; Kenton County, June 16-22; and Campbell County, June 23-29. All tire amnesty programs are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other programs: The state is running tire amnesty programs at the Department of Highways garages in Carrollton for Carroll County residents, June 5-7; Warsaw for Gallatin County residents, June 12-14; and Williamstown for Grant County residents, June 19-21.
Large amounts of tires: Piles of 1,500 passenger tire equivalents (an average of 20 pounds each) will be picked up if they're in a place accessible by tractor-trailer, but arrangements should be made ahead of time.
Who can participate: Everyone except agricultural and motor vehicle tire retailers can take part in the tire amnesty program. Tires on and off rims will be accepted. Foam-filled tires, off-road construction and equipment tires, and solid tires with pressed-on rims will not be accepted.
Funded by: State Waste Tire Trust Fund.
Information: Boone County, (859) 334-3151; Kenton County, (859) 371-9198; and Campbell County, (859) 441-5166. For other counties, call the state Division of Waste Management at (502) 564-6716.
"We're not going to ask any questions," said Reno Deaton, Campbell County solid-waste coordinator. "And you won't have to pay any penalties. This is a chance to get rid of those waste tires you've got hidden behind the barn, stacked in your garage, or sitting in the creek."

Normally, it costs between $2 and $3 to get rid of each unwanted tire. Residents hoarding more than 100 waste tires also face possible fines if they don't have a permit to operate a tire storage or processing facility.

But those rules don't apply during the tire amnesty.

During Kentucky's first tire amnesty program in 1999, Northern Kentucky officials predicted they might collect 8,000 tires, tops. Instead they took in 279,000, said Nate Sturm, Northern Kentucky solid waste coordinator.

"We really didn't know what to expect," Sturm said. "With our counties being more urban, we just felt like they wouldn't have all those tires. We were wrong."

In 1998, the Kentucky General Assembly required that $1 from each passenger tire sale go toward the Kentucky Waste Tire Trust Fund to underwrite the amnesty program. Tires collected through the program are shredded and reused.

Original plans called for the tire amnesty program to be a one-time sweep across Kentucky.

However, the 6 million tires collected between fall 1999 and spring 2001 persuaded the General Assembly to continue the program.

Where do people get so many waste tires?

"Some people inherit them," Deaton said.

"For example, a guy bought a rental property in Bellevue with a little garage. When he looked inside, he found 165 tires. Without (programs like the tire amnesty), he's looking at $350 to get rid of them."

Still others hoard them.

In 1996, two state-hired recycling firms removed 350,000 tires from a couple of ridge tops in rural Campbell County. Charles Wanner stockpiled the tires with the idea of selling the rubber for oil.

His plans never materialized, and his neighbors sued him, citing health hazards and fire concerns.

A judge ordered Wanner to remove the tires, but he died in 1989, leaving behind one of the worst tire dumps in the state.

"Tires are a breeding ground for mosquitoes," Sturm said. "With the West Nile (virus) scare in recent years, it's more important than ever that we get rid of waste tires."


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