COLUMBIA, S.C. — A trio of South Carolina state agencies has launched a statewide initiative aimed at eradicating illegal tire dumps throughout the Palmetto State.
The campaign — dubbed "See It, Report It" — encourages residents to report suspected illegal tire dumps by calling the Litter Buster Hotline at 1-877-7 LITTER or using the "Report a Litterbug" option at palmettopride.org. The notification process is anonymous.
The initiative involves the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and PalmettoPride, South Carolina's anti-litter and beautification organization.
"While advancements in the management of scrap tires continues, we recognize that there is more to be done," DHEC Environmental Affairs Director Myra Reece said.
"The 'See It, Report It' campaign allows us to share information and resources to reduce illegal tire dumping in South Carolina by encouraging our residents to help us identify these sites so that we can take action."
The initiative was launched at the Scrap Tire Recycling Conference, being held Dec. 4-5 in Greenville, S.C.
Most waste tires are properly disposed of by permitted facilities and are frequently used as a substitute for gravel or other aggregates in septic tank drain fields or other drainage applications, the agencies said. Tires also can be recycled into rubberized playground surfaces, landscaping mulch, truck bed mats and other products.
Despite the resources available for proper tire disposal, illegal dump sites still occur around the state, they said. South Carolinians generate an estimated 4.6 million waste tires every year, or about 12,600 per day, according to SC-DEHC figures.
"The 'See It, Report It' campaign is part of a comprehensive initiative to improve waste tire management in South Carolina," PalmettoPride Executive Director Sarah Lyles said.
"From our perspective, changing behaviors that lead to illegal dumping begins with awareness and education. This campaign brings all the stakeholders on board in a joint mission: to encourage proper disposal practices."
Unless a site's owner is properly permitted by the DHEC as a waste tire facility, a stockpile of tires is illegal, the parties said. Residents should never let someone dump tires on their property, as landowners could be held liable for associated cleanup costs.
"The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has a long-standing commitment to conservation that includes enforcing the law when individuals threaten or harm the lands, waterways and wildlife we strive to protect," Valerie Shannon, state litter coordinator, said.
"The 'See It Report It' campaign and SCDNR law enforcement surveillance efforts will increase awareness about preserving our state's natural resources."
For more information about waste tires in South Carolina, visit scdhec.gov/tires or call DHEC's Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling at 1-800-768-7348.