Tired of tires?

Published 10:35 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Dumped tires are becoming a nuisance in all parts of Suffolk, and an event this Saturday will allow folks to get rid of their unneeded tires legally.

The recycling drive and tire amnesty day will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lowe’s, 1216 N. Main St. Tires aren’t the only things that will be collected, but they will almost surely make the largest pile.

“Tires is our main focus, with all the tire-dumping that’s going on,” said Wayne Jones, the city’s litter control coordinator.

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Local resident Kay Hurley lives in the downtown area but also owns a farm between Holland and Whaleyville. She said she sees problems with dumped tires at her farm and near her downtown home, too.

“It’s not just a rural problem,” she said.

Ronald Eley, president of the West End-Lakeside Civic League, said the tires are a nuisance in his neighborhood. About a month ago, someone dumped about 100 tires in the backyard of a vacant house on Smith Street. The problem was reported to the police, and the city cleaned it up.

“We were told it was sporadic in different sections of the city,” Eley said.

He said the tires are unsightly and attract rodents and snakes. They also can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“One tire alone with water in it is a nest by itself,” he said. “There was 100 tires piled back there. Multiply that, and you can see the harm it would do.”

In rural areas, Hurley said, tires are also an environmental hazard.

“At my farm, people are dumping them down near the creek, so that seeps into the water, and people in the country have wells,” she said.

The presence of just a few tires seems to be an invitation for others to dump them, said Hunter March of the Holy Neck Ruritan Club.

The club recently did a trash cleanup along Quaker Drive and a few adjacent streets. They piled about 24 bags of trash and three tires in a designated spot for the city to pick up.

By the time they were picked up, the pile had grown to include between 40 and 50 tires, March said.

The club does the cleanup about twice a year, and there’s always four or five tires, he said. There are a couple of secluded spaces around curves where there are no houses, and people tend to stop there and dump tires and other trash.

Hurley said she believes the tires come from people who make a quick buck collecting them from service stations, telling them they will dispose of them legally, and then dumping them.

“These unscrupulous people will come along and say, ‘Give me a dollar, and I’ll take care of them for you,’” she said.

She said she hopes some form of legislative action or law enforcement can fix the problem.

In the meantime, Saturday’s event will provide a place for Suffolk residents — not business owners — to dispose of tires legally. The tires must be automobile or light truck weight and size, no greater than 22 inches inside diameter, and no rims.

Although the tires will make a big pile, a number of other items also will be collected at the event.

New this time will be the participation of the Lions Club, which will collect eyeglasses and hearing aids.

Household hazardous waste will also be collected and disposed of. Household hazardous waste includes paint, cooking oil, bleach, pool chemicals, indoor pesticides, batteries, automotive fluids, fertilizer, mercury thermometers, kerosene and many other products. For a full list, visit www.spsa.org/household-waste-disposal.asp.

Other recyclables collected at the event will include electronics, all types of paper, household glass bottles, plastic bottles Nos. 1 and 2, steel, tin, aluminum cans, cardboard, furniture, flat screen televisions, cellphones, gently used clothing, computers, cordless tools, plastic bags, CFL light bulbs and more.

Also featured at the event will be a food drive for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. Items being collected include lean canned protein, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, pasta, oatmeal, rice, crackers, soups, stews, boxed meals, canned pasta, formula, baby food, diapers, baby wipes and donated funds.