HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. - A Hawkins County man said someone dumped more than 100 tires of various sizes and conditions on his private property along Highway 66 in Bulls Gap on Thursday.
"Just throwing these things on other people's property is not good for the environment and it causes a mess," said Chief Deputy Tony Allen at the Hawkins County Sheriff's Department.
A nearby neighbor told police he saw a maroon Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck make three trips to the area to dump the tires. Deputies said they have a possible license plate number and are investigating several leads.
Allen said county workers usually only find a couple tires dumped at a time, not 100. "Most people get four new tires and throw them out in a spot, but this number is a large amount," he said.
Phillip Trammell with the Hawkins County Solid Waste & Recycling Department reports finding about 20 tires on any given day illegally dumped. "We have to go on the road and pick up the tires that people dumped out. I beg people to bring them to us. Don't dump them out on the side of the road," said Trammell.
He said there is a cheap and legal way to take care of unwanted tires. Drivers pay a dealer disposal fee when they buy new tires and leave the old tires with the dealer. However, if drivers must dispose of their own tires, you can recycle eight tires per year for free at recycling centers. Each tire after that costs 80 cents to recycle.
The collection site on Highway 11-W in Rogersville takes the tires to Knoxville to be shredded and recycled. "A lot of people think it's okay to dump these tires on other people's property. This is one of our citizens that doesn't have the time and resources to clean this up," said Allen.
Both the sheriff's department and the recycling department report they are willing to work with the victim to remove the tires.
Trammell said he wants to raise awareness about the problem that costs the victims and county time and money. "It's causing us more trouble, causing the county more trouble. They should just bring them to us," he said.
Illegal tire dumping is a violation of the state litter law and results in a $500 fine and several days of picking up litter from the highways.