Spruce Up program offers free disposal of tires and car batteries

Spruce Up program offers free disposal of tires and car batteries Gov. Bill Janklow's Spruce Up South Dakota project is working with officials of cities, counties, and regional landfills to provide free sites for people to dispose of waste tires and old car batteries throughout East River counties this spring.

"People really need to clean up old tires that are laying around," said Janklow. "Old tires are unsightly, pose a fire hazard, and most importantly, provide excellent breeding habitat for mosquitoes, pests, and other vermin. With the possibility of the West Nile virus moving west across the United States this summer, it is more important than ever to reduce mosquito breeding areas."

West Nile virus disease is a mosquito-borne infection that can cause encephalitis. While the virus has not been detected in South Dakota, it has been confirmed in Iowa and is expected to move west this summer.

The Spruce Up project provided for free tire collections in East River counties during 2000 and West River counties during 2001. Tire collections to be held this spring are being set up now for all East River counties, with West River tire collections planned for this fall.

All regional landfills located East River have agreed to accept old tires for the Spruce Up project during the following dates:

* Tri-County Landfill near Pukwana (April 8-May 11);

* Pierre Landfill at the Hughes County Highway Shop (May 3-4);

* Walworth County Landfill near Mobridge (April 1-June 24);

* Brown County Landfill near Aberdeen (April 26-May 25);

* Roberts County Landfill near Sisseton (April 1-May 31);

* Watertown Landfill near Watertown (April 1-June 1);

* Brookings Landfill near Brookings (April 1-May 31);

* Sioux Falls Landfill near Sioux Falls (April 1-June 1);

* Mitchell Landfill near Mitchell (April 20-April 27);

* Southern Missouri Landfill near Lake Andes (May 20-27); and

* Vermillion Landfill near Vermillion (April 1-May 11).

For convenience, DENR is working with local officials to locate several other collection sites in each county for people to drop off waste tires and old car batteries. These other sites are free as well, but will be operated for only short periods. The times and locations will be announced in local newspapers, are available by contacting local Spruce Up coordinators, or can be found by going to the www.spruceupsd.com Web site.

All waste tires, including those from passenger cars, pickups, trucks, and farm equipment, can be brought to the collection sites within each county. Waste tires must be removed from the rims. Tire retailers are not allowed to drop off tires at the free disposal sites because most retailers have collected a tire disposal fee from their customers to pay for proper disposal.

Janklow made cleaning up old tires and car batteries a priority under his Spruce Up South Dakota project. During the last several years, more than 3.5 million tires and 10,000 batteries have been collected. Tires are shredded into 1-inch chunks, and then hauled to Big Stone Power Plant near Milbank. At the power plant, the tire chunks are mixed with the coal in about a 5 percent ratio and burned to produce electricity. Batteries are taken by local commercial recyclers and shipped to national battery recycling operations.

The money for the hauling and shredding of the tires comes primarily from a state tire fee of 25 cents per tire, not to exceed a dollar per vehicle, that is collected by the county when vehicles are registered. The 2002 Legislature approved using a portion of these fees for the waste tire cleanups again this year.

For more information on the waste tire collections, call Keith Gestring of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources at (605) 773-4216, contact your county's Spruce Up coordinator, or visit www.spruceupsd.com. For more information about the West Nile virus, go to http://www.state. sd.us/doh/Pubs/westnile.htm.

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