Aug. 12, 2005 A solution to the problem of what to do with St. John's old tires is on the way, Waste Management Authority director May Adams Cornwall said at a meeting Friday called by the agency. It was held at the Legislature building.
Cornwall said that the contractor hired to shred tires adjacent to the Bovoni Landfill, A-9 Trucking, is close to starting operations.
"Weeks," she said.
The contractor's lease for the land is at Government House, she said. Once it's signed, A-9 only has to hook up the electricity needed to run the shredder.
Cornwall said the current plan calls for the shredded tires to be put into the landfill.
St. John firefighter Elvis Marsh said this would cause problems. "This is tantamount to a dust explosion. The tires will act as fuel," he said.
Cornwall said a fire suppression plan is in the works.
Meanwhile, people who sell tires on St. John have come up with various ways to deal with their old tires because the Public Works Department won't willingly accept them at the Susannaberg transfer station. Deputy Public Works Commissioner Ira Wade said Susannaberg has run out of room for tires. A-9, which was accepting tires, has no room.
None of the solutions adopted by St. John tire sellers are ideal.
Myrtle Barry, manager at E&C gas station, said the company is currently shipping the tires to Florida for recycling.
"It's extremely expensive and not an option for the long term," she said.
She said it costs $5,000 to send a 40-foot container of old tires to Florida. Barry said E&C charges its customers $6 per tire to get rid of their old ones, but it actually costs the gas station $12 per tire.
Barry said E&C puts holes in the tires to drain out standing water. "I don't want anybody to die from dengue because of my tires," she said.
Robert O'Connor Jr., who owns the Texaco gas station, said he makes customers take their old tires with them.
He said he was particularly irked that he got a citation from the Health Department's Environmental Health Division for storing tires when he had nowhere to send them.
What O'Connor's customers and those who don't want to pay the voluntary disposal fee at other tire vendors do with their tires remains unknown.
However, Wade said that unlike other islands where people throw them into the bush, St. John residents put them where his crew can find them.
"There was a stack of tires in front of the gate the other day," he said.
Cornwall asked if anyone knew of a piece of St. John land the Waste Management Authority could lease to store the tires until A-9 gets its shredding operation underway.
There were no responses.
Sharon Ehle, owner of Caravan Auto, expressed her frustration at the tire situation.
"There seems like a lot of can't dos. We need to have somebody say what we can do, and the people on St. John will do it," she said.
While getting rid of old tires has long been a concern, the matter has become more pressing because of a recent upswing in the number of dengue fever cases.
Dr. Audria Thomas, the Health Department's district health officer for St. Thomas and St. John, said cases were found on St. John at Chocolate Hole and Coral Bay.
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