By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
Code enforcement officials failed Tuesday to convince Killeen City Council members that a scrap tire recycling program would save the city time and money.
The proposed program would require tire sellers to stamp used tires with an identification number before allowing transporters to haul them away. Code enforcement could then trace tires found in waterways or unauthorized dump sites to the seller and the transporter, both of which could be punished by currently undetermined fines.
Since 2008, code enforcement has handled 805 cases of illegal tire dumping, said code enforcement officer Ramon Alvarez. Some cases have cost the city more than $600 in haul-off alone.
One favorite spot for tire dumping has yielded more than 1,000 tires, and Lee Watts, head of code enforcement, said that as the ground shifts, officers continue to dig up tires that have been there for years.
Though officials told council members that an ordinance would increase compliance and save money, four of seven council members asked for proof before they'd approve further action. Some asked for cost analyses while others asked about the enforceability of the ordinance.
"Are we causing a lot of paperwork and a lot of
regulation on (businesses)?" asked Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper. "We're assuming that the dumped tires will be marked but if there's no marking, there's no trail to follow."
Ray Shanaa, executive director of planning and development, said that to ensure stamping, code enforcement would engage in random checks at tire shops throughout the city. While those preventative measures may not rid the city of the problem, preventative steps should be put in place, he said.
"It takes more times to abate than to do once-in-a-while checks of businesses. We will only reduce illegal dumping," he said. "We're not going to totally eradicate it. I wish we could."
Though the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality sets forth standards for dumping of tires, Watts told the council that the state agency does not have enough manpower to reduce tire dumping in cities like Killeen, where the largest illegal mounds of tires are much smaller than the worst statewide cases.
Still, refusal to remove illegally placed scrap tires is a class C misdemeanor and punishable by fines ranging from $1 to $2,000. Illegal dumping also is a health code violation and can lead to fire hazards, mosquito breeding and can release hydrocarbons into groundwater.
Contact Hailey Persinger at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.
Dispose of hazardous waste
A household hazardous waste collection event will be in Copperas Cove at the Solid Waste Transfer Station, Farm-to-Market 116, south of Highway 190 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Residents of Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties can drop off materials like used oil or other automotive fluids, paint, fertilizers, pesticides, other poisons and old tires.
People must bring proof of residency to drop off items.