SANTA FE, N.M.—New Mexico environmental officials have awarded En-Core Systems of Grand Rapids, Minn., a $500,000 contract to manufacture 10 tire balers as a first step in cleaning up the state's illegal tire dumps. The balers will be given to 10 local governments throughout the state that run tire-recycling centers and have submitted plans for the bales' end use. Some of the bales will be used in civil engineering applications, such as erosion control, while others will be used for walls in firing ranges, fencing in race tracks and as cattle mounds.
The program is believed to be the first statewide effort in the country to bale scrap tires, said Darwin Pattengale, environmental specialist with the Environmental Improvement Division of the state Environmental Department.
``We view them as a commodity and feel they are an asset. . . . It means they have some value. By baling them, we've accomplished the same thing, if not more, as shredding,'' he said.
One reason the state turned toward baling the estimated 1 million illegally dumped scrap tires is because the end uses of shredded tire chips are subject to the size of the chip, he said.
Baled tires also cost less to transport, and their compact size minimizes problems such as fires or contamination by insects and rodents, Mr. Pattengale said.
The equipment produces a bale that measures 3-by-4-by-5 feet and weighs about one ton. Each bale contains the equivalent of about 100 whole tires from passenger cars or light trucks.
The state's scrap tire management program is funded by the state's Tire Recycling Fund, financed by a vehicle registration fee. The fee raised about $1.5 million in 1994, with $800,000 going to the recycling efforts and more than $700,000 to rubberized asphalt applications.
The first large-scale cleanup is planned for this summer, Mr. Pattengale said.
En-Core Systems has been making tire balers for two years but has been involved in tire disposal since 1988, said Nancy Drews, En-Core's business manager.
The company is studying possible civil engineering applications for baled scrap tires continually, she said. ``We just feel (baling) is an alternative,'' Ms. Drews said. ``I don't feel there is any one answer for this problem. It will probably be a combination of things.''