Crews clear illegal tire dumping grounds - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crews clear illegal tire dumping grounds

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Workers began clearing a dumping ground Wednesday in the Douglas area off Warford where thousands of old tires have been illegally disposed.

"It's going to cost the city a lot of money, said Earnest Dobbins, Memphis' Director of Community Enhancement.

Forty people with 20 trucks spent about 10 hours working to haul off some 8,000 tires.  Officials said similar tire dumps often cause health hazards.

"Tires and stuff breed mosquitos," Dobbins said. "It's a health hazard, fire hazard, so we've got to do something about it."

The tires can also create a playground for snakes and rats, but Wednesday, that jungle-gym was taken away.

"I've got a barrage of trucks coming out this morning," Public Works Compost Manager Jean Soucy said.

Here's how it works: a retailer pays someone to haul off their tires to a recycling, but instead of going to the center, which requires a $100 per ton dumping fee, the dumper keeps the money and disposes of the tire in an open field.

"I think this is the largest amount I've ever seen," Soucy said.

"We wanted to know how come it got this full before something was done about it," said foreman Louis Weakley.

Investigators with the District Attorney's Office want to know too.  They say it's up to the public to tell them about a dumping cite before it turns gets as bad as it has in this case.  An investigator says the dumping in the Douglass area off Warford was going on for six months before anyone said anything.

By then, the culprits were already looking for their next illegal dumping ground.

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