COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 5, 2019) — Illegal tire dumps are the target of a new statewide initiative aimed at eliminating unpermitted tire stockpiles, which can pose both public health and environmental risks.
Introduced on Dec. 4 by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), PalmettoPride, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), the “See It, Report It” campaign encourages residents to quickly and anonymously report tire dumps three ways: calling the Litter Buster Hotline at 1-877-7 LITTER, using the free “Litter Buster” phone app, or using the “Report a Litterbug” option at www.palmettopride.org. The information reported is held in strict confidence.
“Illegally dumped tires create human and environmental risks in our communities,” said Juli Blalock, director of DHEC’s Division of Mining and Solid Waste Management. “These tires collect rainwater and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes that can transmit illness, and they’re also a fire hazard. Tire fires are difficult to extinguish, and they can release toxic air pollutants and oil that can contaminate ground and surface water.”
Tires are banned from landfill disposal in South Carolina and are properly managed or recycled using funding from the $2 fee charged on each new tire purchased in the state, known as the Waste Tire Grant Fund. Most waste tires are properly disposed of by permitted facilities and are frequently used as a substitute for gravel or other aggregates in septic tank drain fields or other drainage applications. Tires also can be recycled into rubberized playground surfaces, landscaping mulch, truck bed mats and other products.
Despite the resources available for proper tire disposal, illegal dump sites occur around the state.
“The ‘See It, Report It’ campaign is part of a comprehensive initiative to improve waste tire management in South Carolina,” said Sarah Lyles, Executive Director of PalmettoPride. “From our perspective, changing behaviors that lead to illegal dumping begins with awareness and education. This campaign brings all the stakeholders on board in a joint mission: to encourage proper disposal practices.”
Unless a site’s owner is properly permitted by DHEC as a waste tire facility, a stockpile of tires is illegal. Residents should never let someone dump tires on their property, as landowners could be held liable for associated cleanup costs.
“The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has a long-standing commitment to conservation that includes enforcing the law when individuals threaten or harm the lands, waterways and wildlife we strive to protect,” said State Litter Coordinator Valerie Shannon. “The ‘See It Report It’ campaign and SCDNR law enforcement surveillance efforts will increase awareness about preserving our state’s natural resources.”
For more information about waste tires in South Carolina, visit www.scdhec.gov/tires or call DHEC’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling at 1-800-768-7348.
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