Officials are cleaning up a dump containing an estimated 1.2 million tires in rural Deerfield Township, southeast of Akron.
The cleanup, which began the week of June 3, is expected to remove 100,000 tires per month from what is known as the ``Kay pile,'' according to Charles Ramer, director of the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.
C&E Coal of Toronto, Ohio, and Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Services of Ohio are hauling the tires to a nearby landfill, where the tires will be shredded and used in a drainage layer to collect leachate, he said.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is funding the $897,275 tire remediation project through Ohio's scrap tire fund, which receives $1 on every new tire sold in Ohio. The cleanup should last for 10-12 months.
The state also will pay $20,510 to spray that pile and another million-tire pile in nearby Atwater for mosquitoes, Mr. Ramer said.
``Mosquitoes are a severe problem,'' he noted. ``With the concern now of the West Nile virus, this area was particularly a hazard because it's spread out over a large area.''
The Atwater pile also contains an estimated 1.2 million scrap tires and is located a quarter-mile south of the Kay pile, according to Mr. Ramer. He called the Atwater dump ``one of the highest priorities of the state'' and said he believes the EPA will soon approve funding for tire removal from that site, too.
The Kay pile dates back to the 1970s when the Kay family began accumulating on the property tires that they had received from rubber companies in the area, Mr. Ramer said.
The family had a tire disposal facility and sold the scrap for fuel until state laws regulating clean air and water made tire-derived fuel ``cost prohibitive,'' he said.
``At some point in the late '70s and early '80s, scrap rubber was worth about $24 a ton,'' Mr. Ramer explained.
``They would probably receive (tires) for nothing or a nominal charge,'' he added, ``and then they would package them back up and sell them as a fuel source. Then at some point that just became impractical.''
He said that he wasn't certain if the Kay family was involved in any business now, but noted that Ohio had attempted to collect restitution but ``it was determined that (the Kays) were destitute.''