September 1, 2014

Soil Conservation District puts in for tire disposal grant

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — Following a successful tire drive in August 2011, the Department of Agriculture’s local Soil Conservation District office in Standish is aiming to hold another one in 2012.

Dawn Hemott, administrator for the Arenac Conservation District, said the office is currently working on a $3,000 grant application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to fund another tire drive, which would give county residents a place to drop off old tires from cars, trucks, and tractors.

“It’s a quick and easy way to get rid of tires that are lying around,” Hemott said. “(Last year) we collected over 900 tires in one day.”

The Arenac County Board of Commissioners is supporting the program. The board sent a letter of support to the program, which Hemott believes will help secure the grant.

During a tire drive, residents can drop off up to seven tires at a designated point for a small fee. The tires are then taken to CM Rubber Recycling in Coleman, where Hemott said they are turned into mulch for playgrounds and landscaping, paths for horse tracks, and plant bedding.

Hemott said last year the fee was $1 per car tire, with tractor and semitruck tires costing more to drop off. She said all the drop-off fees may be slightly higher this time around.

Hemott said people interested in dropping off tires for the drive will want to pre-register, since the office can only take so many tires. Furthermore, the office cannot take golf cart tires, off-road unlimited tires, skid steer tires, or any tires over 2 ply.

“They don’t grind up properly,” Hemott explained.

She cautioned that although she considers it very likely they will be able to get the grant money, the DEQ only has so much available for the program.

If the Arenac Conservation District is unable to secure the grant money, Hemott said the program could still go forward depending on how much CM Rubber would charge. She added it might end up costing more to dispose of the tires in that case.

Arenac County Commissioner Jeff Trombley said the district is looking at the property near the Arenac Conservation District Community Garden for the drop-off point. He proposed having jailed individuals from the Arenac County Sheriff’s Office help pick up tires throughout the county from ditches.

Hemott said it was not possible for her office to go out and collect all the tires left in ditches. She said they focusing their resources instead on tires left in rivers and other bodies of water.

She did encourage communities and residents to help dig out tires from ditches, which Commission Chairman Michael Snyder said was done during the 2011 drive.

“I know one of my townships dug tires out of ditches and wasn’t charged,” Snyder said.

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