Alabama's largest scrap tire pile, an estimated 8 million tires strong, finally is being cleaned up, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) said.
C.W. Owens Enterprises, which won the contract after the ADEM solicited bids, began work Aug. 4 at the Four Star Wholesale site in Attalla near Gadsden, an agency spokesman said.
According to the ADEM, the Attalla site contains some 40 percent of all scrap tires in Alabama. The agency expects the project to take two to three years to complete, at an estimated cost of $7 million. The state's scrap tire fund will pay for the cleanup.
Among the provisions of the cleanup contract is one that requires at least 50 percent of the tires to be reused or recycled.
The ADEM did not stipulate the exact methods of reuse or recycling, but suggested some possible uses in an Aug. 8 press release, including tire-derived fuel, rubber mulch, playground cover and rubberized asphalt.
The Alabama legislature passed the state's scrap tire law in 2003. On Oct. 1, 2004, Alabama began charging a $1 fee on every new tire sold in the state, with the receipts destined for the scrap tire fund. To date, the state has collected about $7.5 million for the fund.