BAXTER COUNTY, Ark.- Nearly seven million tires are creating an ecological disaster in Baxter County, Arkansas. The DAMCO Tire Landfill closed years ago, but the tires left behind created a mosquito concern and broke environmental regulations.
Mounds of tires, of every shape and size, litter the dirt road at DAMCO Landfill near Mountain Home. For years, waste tires were recycled here. Weston Lee is a project engineer with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. He’s spearheading the cleanup.
“So originally the district needed a place to dispose of tires and requested to have a monofill landfill,” Lee said.
Damco Inc, a private company, worked in conjunction with the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District to bury 1,500 bales of tires. Each bale has 100 tires in it. Even after the project reached capacity, the business kept accepting tires with no where to put them. Since the District attempted to file for bankruptcy to clean up the mess — the ADEQ took control.
“We have between five and a half to six million tires in the structure as we speak,” Lee said.
According to Lee, the original dam structure had to be redesigned to incorporate the influx of tires.
Right now, contractors continue to bale up nearly a million tires, scattered around the lot, to bury them in the dam.
“The top bale of the rows will be gradually stepped down to a grade of three to one,” Lee said. “Three to one slope will minimize erosion from rainwater and runoff from top of dam structure.”
The mosquito threat is also being eliminated with the contractor spraying for insects once a quarter.
The entire project will take 10 months to complete. All tires are expected to be under ground with vegetation growing above this spring. This project is costing two million dollars. Taxpayers in six Arkansas counties, within the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District will be footing the bill.