Scrap tire piles have presented local governments with management challenges for decades, but now that old problem could be breeding a new health threat.
The ability of tires to hold rainwater makes them ideal breeding sites for mosquitoes that need stagnant water to lay their eggs. Education efforts in the past have focused on mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and encephalitis. With the spread of the Zika virus, however, there may be renewed efforts to locate and remove these mosquito-breeding magnets.
In 2015, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division created a program that can help local governments with this effort. Open to local governments and solid waste management authorities, the Local Government Scrap Tire Abatement Reimbursement Program covers the costs of removing, transporting and processing scrap tires from eligible sites.
Removing scrap tires can decrease the number of mosquito breeding grounds.
An eligible site is one where the property owner is either unknown, financially unable to clean up the tires, or the local government has determined that the property owner is a victim of illegal dumping. There is no limit on the amount of funding that may be awarded per application.
Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and awarded first come, first served, contingent on funding availability and demand. Funding for the program comes from the state Solid Waste Trust Fund, which was established in 1990 as part of the Georgia Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act.
For more information on funding guidelines and how to apply, visit www.epd.georgia.gov/scrap-tires