Thousands of tires a health concern near Tunnel Hill; county waiting on state to clean it up
WHITEFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -
Channel 3 first visited a property on Lake Kathy Road in Whitfield County last July. At the time businessman Bill Boyle was running a scrap tire business out of the backyard, it lasted all of six months. He did have a valid permit issued by the state, however, "he was doing more than what his permit allowed," Executive Director of Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Department.
Thousands of tires were left to bake in the summer heat causing an overload of mosquitoes. The county looked into the problem. "We convinced him to forfeit his permit and his performance bond that he had with the state of Georgia," says Barashick.
Boyle moved out of the area, his property now belongs to the state but the tires are still there almost one year later and mosquito season is upon us. "Its already a problem. We've already received calls," Barashick says.
"Most of my crew is getting eaten up real bad by the mosquitoes," one electrical worker tells Channel 3.
The residents next door to the property tell Channel 3 off camera they're hiring a lawyer to move the process along faster. Currently the state is moving forward with the clean up but it may be late June by the time contractors remove the tires from the property and take them to a processing facility in Atlanta.
County officials have also asked the state to address the mosquito problem on site. "We're still waiting for them to take action," Barashick says.
The state of Georgia receives $1 per new tire bought within the state. The money from that, about $40 million a years, is supposed to go towards cleaning up illegal tire dumps like this one. However, county officials say a lot of that money has been allocated elsewhere over the past few years.
Channel 3 called the state's Environmental Protection Division multiple times Monday. Those calls have not been returned.