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Mosquito population dealt a blow in Houston

Keep Warner Robins Beautiful volunteers unload old tires at the county annex where many people brought old tires during an amnesty day April 20.
Keep Warner Robins Beautiful volunteers unload old tires at the county annex where many people brought old tires during an amnesty day April 20. bcabell@macon.com

Houston County’s mosquito population lost thousands of fine homes recently.

The tire amnesty program held April 20-22 collected 7,133 tires, said Terry Dietsch, the landfill supervisor. That was more than twice as many tires as had been expected.

Residents ordinarily would pay $180 per ton to dispose of tires at the landfill, which works out to about three or four dollars per tire. The amnesty event allowed tires to be disposed of for free, but it was not open to tire dealers.

The tires amounted to 100 tons and nine tractor-trailer loads.

“Really it was overwhelming on the response,” Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said at Tuesday’s commission meeting. “The people took advantage of it and got the old tires up. I believe if we had another one next month, we would get a large number. We may not get the same level of numbers, but I know there are still tires out there that need to be disposed of properly.”

Advocates for the amnesty program said one good reason to have it is that discarded tires collect water and become homes for mosquitoes. Walton Wood, who was involved with the event, said one man collected about 100 discarded tires from a stream bed.

The amnesty was paid for with a state grant funded from a $1-per-tire fee on new tires. That fee is for efforts to collect improperly discarded tires. The county, in applying for the grant, had estimated it would collect 3,000 tires. Dietsch said the grant allows the county to request more money if it goes over the estimate, and he plans to do that.

The county hauls all tires brought to the landfill to a recycler and pays $125 per ton for the recycler to take the tires. The tires are ground up and used in various products.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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