WMA Board Members Unhappy with Mounting Scrap Tire Problem

Although the removal of scrap tires has begun on St. John, some Waste Management Authority board members are unhappy with how this project is being handled.

The issue was discussed at the WMA Board of Directors Thursday, October 12, meeting at the Battery.

“I want a definitive plan for scrap tires because it will blow up in our face,” said WMA Board of Directors Secretary Keith Richards. “The last four board meetings I have not been comfortable with what I am hearing.”

Two trailers full of tires were removed from the E&C Gas Station, and another trailer is scheduled to remove tires from the Texaco, according to WMA Executive Director May Cornwall.

Companies Pay for Disposal
“The trailer is supposed to come up for (Texaco owner Bob) O’Connor’s tires,” she said. “We are working with him on the agreement for what he will pay us. We are charging companies to remove the tires because they charged the people they took the tires from.”

Although it is the responsibility of the companies who collect the tires to ensure they are disposed of properly, WMA has been getting heat for the mounting scrap tire problem from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, according to Cornwall.

WMA does not have the authority to fine owners of businesses who improperly dispose of tires, and DPNR has not been willing to assist the autonomous agency with enforcement, according to Cornwall.

DPNR Not Interested Assisting
“We can investigate businesses and ask for proof that they have properly disposed of their scrap tires, but we don’t have the authority to fine them,” she said. “All we can do is send the information to DPNR and ask them to fine the businesses.”

Several board members suggested WMA form a task force with DPNR in an effort to control the problem of illegal dumping of scrap tires.

“We tried to form a task force with DPNR to force a partnership with compliance,” said Cornwall. “They were not interested in assisting us with enforcement.”

Richards has witnessed what was likely illegal disposal of scrap tires first hand, when a mound of tires near a fish stand he used to frequent suddenly disappeared, he said.

“There was a place I used to go every week for fish, and I finally told the guy that I didn’t want to come back because of all the tires,” said Richards. “About two weeks later, all the tires were gone, and I went there and asked him where they went. He told me, ‘you don’t worry about that.’”

The tires that have been collected so far were sent off island to companies who will reuse them in products like asphalt.

“Until we can reuse them here, we will send them off island,” said Cornwall.

The tires are currently being shipped whole at a cost of $3.80 per tire, according to Cornwall. The cost will drop to around $2 per tire once WMA receives a tire shearer, scheduled to arrive in about a month.

“It will cost $2 per tire once we get a tire shearer, which cuts them into four pieces,” she said. “We will use in-house and prison labor.”

Contract Signed with Shipping Company
A contract that will allow WMA to have trailers on-de-mand for the removal of scrap tires was recently signed with a shipping company, according to Cornwall.

“With the contract, we will be billed each month for the services we use,” she said. “Now we can call the trailers on demand.”

Anyone with tires that need to be disposed should call WMA at 777-3673 and ask for Environ-mental Programs.