News Release 007

Department of Natural Resources tire cleanup effort surpasses 16 million tires

Volume 39-007 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JAN 21, 2011 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' tire-dump cleanup efforts have resulted in the removal of more than 16 million scrap tires from Missouri's landscape, the department announced today.

Since 1990, when the tire dump clean-up effort began, more than 983 sites have been cleaned up, resulting in the removal of more than 16 million scrap tires.

Illegal scrap tire dumps pose serious environmental and health threats. Insects and rodents that grow and breed in these dumps can transmit diseases, such as the West Nile virus. Fires at tire dumps can release hazardous substances to the air, soil and water sources. When recycled properly, scrap tires have many beneficial uses. They can be made into playground surfaces, running tracks, recycled rubber products and can even be burned for fuel in power plants. In 2009, 1.75 million tires were used as tire-derived-fuel in power plants and cement kilns. The department is also working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to promote the use of scrap tires in asphalt for Missouri's roadways.

The Department of Natural Resources has conducted several scrap-tire cleanup campaigns since 1990, each targeting different size scrap tire sites, beginning with the largest. The most recent, the Tire Dump Roundup Program, began in November 2006. This program does not seek reimbursement for cleanup costs of eligible sites.

To qualify for this program, a site must contain between 500 to 10,000 tires. Active businesses and prior program recipients are not eligible for this program. The department continues to work with Missouri's solid waste management districts, cities, and counties coordinating tire roundups, and encourages and reimburses nonprofit citizens groups in cleaning up dumpsites that contain fewer than 500 tires.

The Scrap Tire Fee, a 50-cent-per-tire fee charged on every new tire purchased in Missouri, funds the cleanups. The fee will expire on Jan. 1, 2015, unless extended by the legislature.

The department estimates there are more than 231,000 tires remaining to be cleaned up throughout the state in 185 sites. These tires are in known dumps throughout the state, and the department estimates there are 500,000 tires remaining in unknown dumps.

For more information or to sign up for the Tire Dump Roundup Program, contact the department's Scrap Tire Unit at 800-361-4827 or 573-526-3909 or visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/tires/tirelist.htm.

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