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Where rubber hits the road
by Jason Collins
Jul 24, 2014 | 506 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Albert Gonzalez, with Reliable Tire Disposal, rolls a tire onto a trailer for recycling. This is just one of thousands that are finally being cleaned up from the mountain, shown below, piled on private property on Second Road.
Albert Gonzalez, with Reliable Tire Disposal, rolls a tire onto a trailer for recycling. This is just one of thousands that are finally being cleaned up from the mountain, shown below, piled on private property on Second Road.
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The state agreed to fund the cleanup which will be ongoing this week and continue later in the year.
The state agreed to fund the cleanup which will be ongoing this week and continue later in the year.
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Quintin Carey, with the SWS Environmental Services out of Fort Worth, loads a tire on a backhoe which then will deliver it and others to the truck trailer behind him.
Quintin Carey, with the SWS Environmental Services out of Fort Worth, loads a tire on a backhoe which then will deliver it and others to the truck trailer behind him.
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BEEVILLE – Neighbors gathered outside their homes Monday morning to watch as hundreds of tires were loaded onto a trailer and hauled off a small lot of property on Second Road.

These tires, which would become thousands in all, have been an eyesore for the residents living in this neighborhood east of town.

Pete Keller, who has lived nearby for many years, has had to look out his window and see the pile of tires for the past three years.

The discarded rubber is a haven for rats, snakes and mosquitoes.

As he watched the tires be picked up, he thought, “There is no telling what was inside those tires when they dumped them off.”

Only a couple of weeks ago, the state announced that it would be able to assist the county in getting the tires removed from where they were illegally dumped.

In a meeting in Austin earlier this month, officials with the TCEQ Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council discussed the tires and decided that this cleanup could be the “poster child” for their superfund cleanup program.

The condition of the cleanup site was that there could not be pending litigation and no other viable means for cleanup.

The sister of the man suspected of allowing the tires to pile up said she asked for help to stop him from taking in more tires.

In November 2011, she went to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality hoping it could help. She told county commissioners just last year that she had tried to stop the growing pile since it was only 50 tires high.

Not all of the tires will be gone at the end of the week, said Tanveer Anjum, technical advisor with the waste permit division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“We didn’t have enough money to do the whole thing,” he said.

This week, they will haul away about half the tires — or so they estimate.

No one can really say for sure just how many tires are in the mountain which stretches 75 yards or more into overgrown brush.

“This is one of those things the community wanted, and we found the money for it,” Yanveer said as he stood in the hot sun beside the trailer where the tires were being stacked for hauling.

Among those also watching was Johnny Carabajal, code enforcement officer for Bee County.

His smile was obvious.

“I started working on this three years ago,” he said.

He was there in 2011 and issued reports and even presented the case to the county attorney, where it was later transferred to the district attorney.

Jose Aliseda, in a letter to the editor, said that he was not given enough information to prosecute the case as a felony.

“What was forwarded to the D.A.’s office was not a criminal investigation but an investigation done by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its civil penalties and remedies. It is far from a complete felony criminal investigation,” Aliseda wrote.

But this is just one of many dumps, albeit the biggest of those likely in the county, that Carabajal has been working to get cleaned up and the culprits fined.

“We have a lot of problems with tires in Bee County,” he said.

Farther away from the officials, other residents were looking on at the tires.

Rosie Ramirez is the owner of the property and was thrilled to have it returning to its former appearance.

“We are happy and we compliment the state because the city and county were no help except for (Commissioner Eloy)Rodriguez,” she said.

She declined to elaborate.

Interestingly, Rodriguez didn’t know about the approved cleanup until he read it in the newspaper last week.

“I was floored,” he said. “I thought it was a dead deal.

“This is really good for the people here though.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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