Posted Friday, May 13th, 2011

Crews from the Morris County Mosquito Commission and the Municipal Utilities Authority continued their annual ritual this year of searching for, finding and removing discarded tires from streams, roadsides and wooded areas throughout the county.

Kristian McMorland, superintendent of the Mosquito Commission, said during this past winter, 1,515 tires from 30 locations in 13 different municipalities were collected.

Removing the abandoned tires is part of the commission’s year-round mosquito control activities, McMorland said.

“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 also contaminate waterways and surface water run-off.

Since 2001, when the program began, approximately 55,000 tires have been collected, with more than 14,000 picked up at sites in Rockaway Township alone, according to McMorland.

“That number is probably skewed a hair because years ago, we helped clean a few old dump areas in the township that held a lot of old tires,” he said.

Other towns in which high numbers have been collected over the years include Roxbury, Mt. Olive, Jefferson, Rockaway Borough, Randolph and Montville.

“Again, many of these locations had old abandoned lots or garages that became chronic dump sites years after they were closed,” McMorland said.

He said since the program started, smaller piles or single tires have been found and collected from most towns in the county.

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 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.