AKRON-With the recent stroke of a pen, the nation's scrap tire pile was made smaller by two-thirds. That's good news for those seeking to rid the U.S. landscape of the unsightly and potentially troublesome castoffs. Once thought to comprise as many as 3 billion unwanted tires, the nation's above-ground scrap stockpile probably doesn't exceed 800 million, according to a study soon to be released by the Scrap Tire Management Council.
The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, sponsored by North America's tire manufacturers, lowered its estimate of the number of scrap tires awaiting cleanup after surveying each of the 50 states and asking how many tires remain stockpiled within its borders.
Results of the group's 1994 Scrap Tire Market/Disposal Study showed that previous estimates by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and others overstated the numerical size of the scrap tire problem, STMC officials said.
These findings could have a significant impact on state and federal solid waste planners and policy makers dealing with scrap tire issues, they added.
STMC Chairman John Serumgard said the information should help reduce the anxiety normally asso-ciated with consideration of scrap-tire-related issues.
``We do recognize there still is a substantial volume of stockpiled tires, and any tire stockpile could present a major problem to the local community,'' Mr. Serumgard said. ``However, the more realistic stockpile figures should help put the scrap tire issue in better perspective.''
While all states did not have stockpile data available, he said, survey results indicated that most states have approximately three stockpiled tires per capita.
Two exceptions to this trend are Minnesota and Oregon-the first states to implement scrap tire legislation back in the mid-'80s. Today both have far fewer than three stockpiled tires per resident.
Minnesota expects to have its scrap piles completely cleaned up by the end of next year. Meanwhile, Oregon has only one major stockpile remaining-that operated under a consent order in Prineville, Ore., by the retreading operations of Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc.-which is gradually being worked down, according to Michael Blumenthal, STMC executive director.
On the other hand, he said, several states still have scrap tire inventories that exceed the national average. Among these are Ohio and Rhode Island-each of which has at least one extremely large tire pile awaiting abatement-and Texas and Maine, which have many lesser-sized scrap piles remaining.