The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment now has removed more than a million waste tires from illegal tire dump sites as part of a program to reduce the negative impacts waste tires can cause to public health and the environment.
Colorado generates more than 7 million waste tires each year, and the state’s private industries accept 600,000 waste tires from other states annually. The department oversees how these waste tires are hauled, stored, and recycled or reused. While there now are regulations to specify how waste tires should be properly managed, historically this was not the case and tires were illegally dumped in small and large piles in areas across the state.
A single abandoned waste tire can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which often carry harmful diseases such as the West Nile virus. Tires also can pose a fire risk, especially because tire fires can release harmful chemicals into the environment and are difficult to extinguish.
Colorado’s Waste Tire Program was created in 2010 to address these public health and environmental threats. The program, funded by a 55-cent waste tire fee added to new tire sales, works with local governments and the public to identify and safely remove illegal waste tire piles.
For more information, visit the department’s illegal waste tire cleanup web page.