Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Hamilton County removes risky tire stacks


West Nile virus: Potential breeding ground

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Chuck Doutaz with Rumpke Recycling heaves a tire onto the bed of his semi trailer as a huge pile of tires is removed from behind the farmer's market adjacent to Lunken Airport.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
At a cost of $9,000, Rumpke trucks hauled off a few of the region's lingering health threats Monday.

About 5,000 of them, actually.

The mounds of old tires near Lunken Airport were ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.

Compounding the threat was the location of the tires: near a farmers' market and a popular walking and biking trail off Kellogg Avenue near Anderson Township.

But despite the concern of residents who complained to the city and of Mayor Charlie Luken - who called for a rapid removal of the tires - mosquitoes didn't seem to use the tires as breeding grounds.

"Because of the way the tires were stacked, even with all the rain, they didn't accumulate lots of water," said Sarah Dowers, a Hamilton County spokeswoman.

The tires, which had been used as safety barricades during the Lunken Runway Enduro sports car race nearly two years ago, were stacked like rolls of quarters, with some 30 tires stacked in four columns and then bound together.

Each tire was bolted to the next with about five bolts.

"The tires were for barricades, and I imagine they were just being stored there temporarily," said Jeff Aluotto, manager of the Hamilton County Solid Waste District.

"But when the races went belly-up, (the company) just split town and left the tires on the property."

The tires will be taken to a recycling plant and used for civil engineering projects, Aluotto said.

The county keeps a tire collection fund that is distributed throughout the year. This year the fund totals $25,000, about $10,000 more than last year.

"We knew that with West Nile out there, this would be a bigger concern," Aluotto said.

By noon Monday, workers were halfway through the 5,000 tires.

"Everything is going great, and it looks like they'll be done ahead of schedule," Dowers said.

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E-mail rforgrave@enquirer.com




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