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Tire dumping an issue in Cumberland County

Cumberland County citizens can dispose of up to 100 tires free of charge on Tire Collection Day Saturday, Oct. 24. The annual event is aimed to help remedy the county’s issue of large sites of illegally dumped tires.

Don Unmussig

The issue, which can pose a health risk, is bigger than one might think.

According to County Administrator Don Unmussig, Tire Collection Day was started at least a decade ago in an effort to clean up the county by reducing the number of abandoned tires in Cumberland.

Unmussig said there are many properties in Cumberland County that have been found to contain a large number of tires. While officials can’t be sure of exact quantities, several sites are being investigated that could house in excess of 1,000 tires.

Unmussig said the issue often occurs when alleged businesses or groups take used tires from other businesses, most likely for a disposal fee. Rather than properly disposing of the tires at a licensed disposal facility, these groups instead pocket the money and dump the tires on properties in low-populated sections of the county, many of which the landowners do not visit on a regular basis.

When property owners do discover the tires, most cannot afford to properly dispose of them.

“Our Tire Day is one service the county can provide to its citizens to allow for free disposal of up to 100 tires to try to help alleviate the issue they had imposed on them by these bad actors,” Unmussig said.

And the mounds of abandoned tires aren’t just an eyesore. According to Unmussig, these sites pose an enormous environmental issue should the tires catch fire.

Standing water caught in abandoned tires can also become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading to the transmission of diseases.

State code mandates a landowner must have a permit to possess more than 100 tires on their property. Knowingly violating the code is a class 1 misdemeanor. Possessing more than 500 tires is a class 6 felony.

Citizens can take advantage of Tire Collection Day Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Cumberland Community Center located at 1874 Anderson Highway in Cumberland.

Passenger tires will be accepted on and off the rim, but no other tire will be accepted with rims. Citizens must have an accurate count of the tires they bring, and proof of residency is required.

For more information, call Stephany Johnson at (804) 492-9267.