By Mario Conde
The illegal Dumping Taskforce was created by the Board of Supervisors to convene a broad group of stakeholders to reduce and remediate illegal dumping in Imperial County. The taskforce is chaired by Supervisor Gary Waytt and Co-chaired by Supervisor Mike Kelley. In a report given by Robin Hodgkin, Director of Public Health, she stated that the drafting of this ordinance is the culmination of extensive discussion among the Taskforce members and additional stakeholders including tire retailers and tire service providers. The goal in proposing an ordinance is to reduce illegal waste tire dumping along public roadways, canals, and on private lands within the cities and unincorporated areas of the County.
The three objectives of this ordinance are to establish countywide mandatory waste tire collection to prevent individuals from being able to avoid the cost of legal disposal a tire service providers and then illegally dumping the tires. To establish a tire disposal fee to be deposited into a dedicated fund to be utilized by the County to augment the cleanup, abatement, removal, disposal or other remedial action related to illegally disposed tires.
Other key areas of this draft ordinance is that tire providers would be required to assess at least a set minimum recycling fee for each used or waste tire removed from vehicle. Most tires would be subject to the minimum recycling fee with the exception of off-road tire, recapped and reinstalled tires, and motorized wheelchair tires. The mandatory tire recycling fee would be collected by the tire service provider regardless of whether the tire is kept by the customer or is left with the tire service provider. The ordinance does not require that the removed tire be left with the tire service provider.
The Imperial County Health Department is in charge of the enforcement for the County and the department has made 276 inspections in the last half of year of used waste tires facilities to ensure proper management and transport tires. “There are public health issues caused by waste tires such as fire hazards and threat to air and water quality since ignited tires can release hazardous gases, heavy metals, and oils.” Said Danny Silva, County Environmental Compliance Technician. Silva said that on Kloke and HWY 98 in Calexico there is a lot of illegal dumping of tires in the area.
Silva added that waste tires create a habitat of breeding ground rodents, insects or other vermin that carry diseases and increased breeding of mosquitoes that can transmit the West Nile Virus due to the shape and impermeability of tires that can hold water for long periods of time. The County of Imperial passed an ordinance in 2009 that punish individuals to dump waste on right-of-way an infraction of $250. A second violation will be a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in county jail for not more than six months and a citation of no more than $1,000 dollars.