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HomeNewsArchivesFeds to Provide $1.2M to Clean Up Tires

Feds to Provide $1.2M to Clean Up Tires

Tire sitting on edge of Pan Gut in Frederiksted.The territory just got $1.2 million to clean up scrap metal and tires illegally stockpiled on and around the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills on St. Croix and St. Thomas, according to the Department of the Interior.
On Monday, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Tony Babauta signed the federal capital improvement grant, according to a statement from Interior. The grant is to help fulfill a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires scrap materials piled around V.I. landfills be safely cleaned up and shipped off island.
The V.I. Waste Management Authority will use the money to collect, clean and transport scrap materials collected around the landfills. WMA is expected to safely process nearly 40 percent of the waste that accumulated illegally and to ship scrap tires to an approved recycling or disposal facility in an environmentally sound manner.
"These landfills are replete with potentially hazardous and environmentally harmful waste products," said Babauta in a statement. "We need to limit our susceptibility to the risks associated with potential tire fires and the unnecessary emission of additional pollutants into the air, land and surrounding waters.”
Landfill scrap tires may potentially form breeding grounds for huge swarms of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus and Eastern Equine encephalitis if not properly disposed of or recycled, according to the statement.
While the funding is for both tires and scrap metal, tires are the larger problem.
"The metal we can sell, and it brings back some revenue—more than the cost of cleaning it up, which is a nice thing," WMA Executive Director May Cornwall said Monday. "But the tires cost money. We have to pay to process them to meet … regulations."
Cornwall said the money was especially helpful now because federal officials are asking that all scrap tires shipped out of the territory be thoroughly scrubbed, making the process much more labor intensive and expensive.
Dirty tires can be breeding grounds and carriers for aphids and other insects that could pose a problem if introduced to a new area. "This is why we would really prefer people not illegally dump tires in the brush and around bin sites," she said.
While the federal money will help clean up what is on the ground now, Cornwall wants to see a longer-term solution. "I hope this will send a message that we need to do more to keep tires from getting dumped on the side of the road," she said. "I would like to see legislation mandating up-front disposal fees for tires."
Should a trash-burning power facility be built on St. Croix by Alpine Energy Group, tires may be burned in it too, she said.

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Tire sitting on edge of Pan Gut in Frederiksted.The territory just got $1.2 million to clean up scrap metal and tires illegally stockpiled on and around the Anguilla and Bovoni landfills on St. Croix and St. Thomas, according to the Department of the Interior.
On Monday, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Areas Tony Babauta signed the federal capital improvement grant, according to a statement from Interior. The grant is to help fulfill a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires scrap materials piled around V.I. landfills be safely cleaned up and shipped off island.
The V.I. Waste Management Authority will use the money to collect, clean and transport scrap materials collected around the landfills. WMA is expected to safely process nearly 40 percent of the waste that accumulated illegally and to ship scrap tires to an approved recycling or disposal facility in an environmentally sound manner.
"These landfills are replete with potentially hazardous and environmentally harmful waste products," said Babauta in a statement. "We need to limit our susceptibility to the risks associated with potential tire fires and the unnecessary emission of additional pollutants into the air, land and surrounding waters.”
Landfill scrap tires may potentially form breeding grounds for huge swarms of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus and Eastern Equine encephalitis if not properly disposed of or recycled, according to the statement.
While the funding is for both tires and scrap metal, tires are the larger problem.
"The metal we can sell, and it brings back some revenue—more than the cost of cleaning it up, which is a nice thing," WMA Executive Director May Cornwall said Monday. "But the tires cost money. We have to pay to process them to meet … regulations."
Cornwall said the money was especially helpful now because federal officials are asking that all scrap tires shipped out of the territory be thoroughly scrubbed, making the process much more labor intensive and expensive.
Dirty tires can be breeding grounds and carriers for aphids and other insects that could pose a problem if introduced to a new area. "This is why we would really prefer people not illegally dump tires in the brush and around bin sites," she said.
While the federal money will help clean up what is on the ground now, Cornwall wants to see a longer-term solution. "I hope this will send a message that we need to do more to keep tires from getting dumped on the side of the road," she said. "I would like to see legislation mandating up-front disposal fees for tires."
Should a trash-burning power facility be built on St. Croix by Alpine Energy Group, tires may be burned in it too, she said.