WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2006) — U.S. Navy divers are pulling about 150 scrap tires from the bottom of the ocean off Broward County, Fla., to determine the feasibility of removing nearly 2 million tires from the Osborne Reef deposited there nearly 30 years ago.
The Navy is collaborating with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Broward County Environmental Protection Department, which say the scrap tire bales sunk as an artificial reef in the mid-1970s are coming undone, crashing into coral reefs and washing up on shore.
The tires retrieved by the divers are being taken to Florida Tire Recycling Inc., a Port St. Lucie, Fla.-based tire recycler, to determine if any can be used to make rubber mulch and other recycled products.
The cost of the pilot project is about $40,000, a spokesman for the Broward County agency said. The cost of a full cleanup would be “a lot,” he added.