Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Two county government agencies working together have discovered and removed for recycling approximately 51,500 illegally dumped tires from various locations since in less than eight years.

Crews from the Morris County Mosquito Commission and the Municipal Utilities Authority have been searching for, finding and removing discarded tires from streams, roadsides and wooded areas throughout the county since October 2001.

Kristian McMorland, superintendent of the Mosquito Commission, said removing the abandoned tires are part of the commission’s year-round mosquito control activities.

“Tires can hold standing water creating the perfect habitat for many mosquitoes,” McMorland said. “Removing abandoned or illegally dumped tires not only helps to reduce mosquito levels and the threat of West Nile virus, but it improves environmental quality.” McMorland noted abandoned or illegally dumped tires can contaminate waterways and surface water run-off.

While many of the 51,500 tires were collected during the early days of the program, McMorland said 1,300 were removed between November 2008 and March 15. Among the trouble spots that still remain is Waterloo Valley Road in Mount Olive, where the number of tires removed is more than 3,000 and rising.

Under the program, Mosquito Commission crews find, collect and transport the tires to a trailer supplied by the MUA. The tires are then brought to a registered recycling facility where, according to Kathleen Hourihan, MUA district recycling coordinator, the tires are shredded and the byproduct sold for various uses including playground cover.

Anyone knowing of a location where tires have been dumped or discarded may call the Mosquito Commission at (973) 285-6450.