Environmentalists, Valvoline managers clear tires from creek - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Environmentalists, Valvoline managers clear tires from Chattanooga Creek

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- After two and a half hours, Volunteers with Scenic Cities Beautiful, and Valvoline Instant Oil Change are tired, of dragging tires out of pollution-choked Chattanooga Creek.

"The more we dig, the more we find. They're further up that we thought," says SCB spokeswoman Jeanette Eigelsbach.

"It's disappointing, to go out here and ruin, a beautiful area like this," says Valvoline-Hixson manager David Camp.

"We've already got over 200 tires out," Eigelsbach adds. "We think there may be 600, and we've probably got another 100 after that."

Camp may offer the ultimate understatement; "when you get this many there, it's a challenge."

Camp, and company realize quickly that manpower is no match for horsepower. They had tied a tow rope to the bumper of a pickup truck, and let it provide the leverage to lift dozens of tires from the creek bed, and over the concrete rail of the bridge above.

Bright idea met a bitter end, when tension combined with friction.

"The concrete's coarse, and it's breaking ropes," Camp says.

"Just like we planned it," one of Camp's fellow Valvoline managers mutters.

"We've had to resort to the old fashioned way of carrying it out, one at a time," Camp says.

That is, until the tow truck arrives. Who's paying to get rid of all this?

"We've gotten a grant from Valvoline and Hamilton County has given us a waiver on disposal fees," Eigelsbach says.

Who SHOULD be paying? SCB asserts that the evidence is overwhelming that the dumper is in the salvage business.

"These tires were pulled off rims," Eigelsbach says. "We'll get 'em. There's a camera up, and we have a law that has some teeth in it.

Since 2007, Tennessee has made Aggravated Criminal Littering a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a $2500 fine, 160 hours 'public service' (litter pickup) and 11 months, 29 days in jail. A second offense of more than 1,000 pounds, or a commercial dumping, may draw 1-6 years in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Camp and company have invested 'sweat equity' into Tuesday's cleanup.

"This is our time off and we just enjoy this," Camp says. "I mean, just to be able to get out here and kind of give back to the community."

That spirit has gained traction, with Jordan Rednour, 11, son of Valvoline Area Manager Dave Rednour.

"I was kind of sad looking at it," he says. "But I'm glad we came out, so that we could help save the creek."

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