County Administrator Steve Swafford announced Cleburne’s participation at the County Commission meeting on Monday.
“This would be a new initiative,” Swafford said.
He hopes to use the money not only for cleanup of the illegal tire dumps but also to reduce scrap tire dumping, Swafford said. But the county is still working out exactly how it will do that with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, he added.
The county received confirmation from the department on May 29 that it had been approved for the Scrap Tire Program, said Josh Horn, Cleburne County compliance officer. The program will reimburse the county up to $100,000 a year for three years for the collection, management and disposal of scrap tire and solid waste dumps, Horn said.
Horn said he applied for the program after receiving a flyer about it from the department.
The money for the program comes from a $1 fee on tire purchases, he said.
Horn is not sure exactly how the money can be used at this time, but he knows it’s mainly a scrap tire initiative.
“We really don’t have our game plan yet,” Horn said.
Scott Hughes, chief of the Office of External Affairs for ADEM, said approximately 50 counties are participating in the program. The program is really a mechanism to make scrap tire dump cleanup easier for the counties, Hughes said.
In the past, if a county found a scrap tire dump, it would have to notify ADEM, Hughes said.
Then, ADEM would inspect the dump, rank it as to its severity and put the clean-up job up for bid, Hughes said.
Through the program, ADEM can make an agreement directly with the counties, Hughes said.
“They can clean up the scrap tire dumps as they find them,” Hughes said.
The Scrap Tire Program, created by state legislation, went into effect in 2004, Hughes said.
“Since that time, approximately 100 illegal scrap tire dumps have been remediated,” he said by email.
More than 7 million tires have been removed from those dumps and a majority of them have been recycled, he added.
The money can also be used to clean up other solid waste intermingled with tires in an illegal dump, Hughes said. However, if the county discovers a large illegal dump, ADEM would request it works with the department to use different funding to clean it up, he said.
Staff writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.