Dept. of Ecology Cracks Down on Tire Piles - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Dept. of Ecology Cracks Down on Tire Piles

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The Department of Ecology continues to try to get rid of tire piles across Eastern Washington.

In Benton and Franklin counties, there are 87,000 tires. In Yakima County, there are 96,000 that the Department of Ecology plans to pick up. But as Phil Lovejoy says, the state can also be helping out local scrap yard owners.

Day after day, Jeff Robertson of Auto Skraps in Kennewick separates hundreds of wheels from their tires. Each wheel gets $2 for scrap yard owner Phil Lovejoy but the tires just continued to pile up.

Lovejoy says that he wants to sell his land and it has to been clean of tires to sell it. That is why Lovejoy was so happy when the state said they would get rid of the tires for free. His tire pile is the largest in the county. He says he believes he has almost 25,000 tires sitting in his scrap yard off of 397 and Gum Street.

And Department of Ecology says tire piles like Lovejoy's pose a particular problem in Eastern Washington. The Department of Ecology's Joye Redfield-Wilder says, "In Eastern Washington, we have seen cases where the tires just light up and catch fire."

While Lovejoy says he doesn't have to pay, the Washington State Legislature uses a $1 fee on each tire to clean up the other piles across the state. Phil Lovejoy will just be glad when the tires are gone. The state continues to clean up the largest tire pile in the state in Glendale, which has almost two million tires. Lovejoy he says he expects his tires to be picked up by this fall.