BOISE, Idaho-As Idaho's scrap tire program begins to wind down, two of the people behind the program say they are satisfied the project has met its objectives. The program, now in its last year, succeeded on several counts, said Todd Montgomery, waste tire project officer with the state's Division of Environmental Quality.
First, 1.3 million scrap tires that were illegally dumped have since been properly disposed.
Second, several companies in the state used money from the program to upgrade equipment so that they could more efficiently burn scrap tires.
Idaho State Rep. Mark Stubbs said: ``We put a dam in the stream of tires going to the landfill.''
Mr. Stubbs, who co-authored the original legislation, said, ``Everything that has teeth in (the program) is still law. It's still illegal to bury tires.''
The program had several features that contributed to its success, Mr. Montgomery said.
One was a partial reimbursement for in-state retreaders. Under this aspect of the legislation, retreaders who used a passenger or light truck casing from an Idaho scrap tire pile were reimbursed $1 per retread. Commercial truck tires weren't reimbursed.
This aspect of the program was self-certifying, so needless bureaucracy was avoided, Mr. Montgomery said.
Annual sales of light truck and passenger retreads rose from between 25,000 and 30,000 in 1992 to 40,000 to 50,000 today, he said.
A second feature was a partial reimbursement of $15 per ton for in- or out-of-state end-users of scrap tires.
That money helped Ash Grove Cement in Inkom, Idaho, refit its kilns to burn tires more efficiently, Mr. Montgomery said. The firm installed a singulator to dump tires into the kiln. The plant is burning 1,000 to 1,400 tires per day.
A second Ash Grove unit in Durkee, Ore., can dispose of whole commercial truck tires at a rate of 1,000 a day.
Another company that took advantage of the reimbursements is Potlatch Corp. in Lewiston, Idaho. The pulp and paper mill consumes the equivalent of 5,000 tires a day in its tire fuel chips.
Finally, the money helped to clean up illegal tire dumps. All piles containing 80,000 or more scrap tires were taken care of under the program.
Mr. Montgomery said the disposal of 1.3 million tires cost $1.5 million. The biggest dump had 600,000 tires.
``If the county had been faced with that liability, it would have broken them many times over,'' he said.
State Rep. Stubbs said another successful feature was offering amnesty days where people could dispose of tires at no charge.
Mr. Montgomery noted other creative uses that arose out of the program.
Several landfills in the state used tire chips on wet sandy roads to allow large trucks to get through. While gravel sinks in the saturated roads, the tire chips float.
In addition, the Southern Idaho Solid Waste District is using tires for a septic system that uses no gravel, he said.
Funding for the program, which began in 1992, came from a $1-per-tire fee charged on all new tires sold in Idaho.
After June, the state no longer will collect the fee on tires sold. At that point, responsibility for scrap tire disposal will return to county and community health programs.
During the remaining months of Idaho's scrap tire program, each of the state's 44 counties must file a model ordinance regarding tire dumping and a blueprint for a tire disposal program.
The state will help the counties implement their plans and continue to provide seed money for the programs.