PRAIRIETON (AP) — Western Indiana residents say they’re worried that hundreds if not thousands of tires dumped along a levee pose a health hazard.
Many of the tires discarded along part of the 8-mile-long Honey Creek levee are visible from Bill Chickadaunce’s land in southern Vigo County.
“I think the tires are a health hazard because of West Nile virus,” Chickadaunce told the Tribune-Star. Discarded tires hold rain water, which can make them breeding pools for mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus to humans. “When it warms up, the mosquitoes are just tremendous because of all the tires,” Chickadaunce said.
Scores of illegally dumped tires have been scattered for years amid grass, branches and other debris near the levee that holds back flood waters from the Wabash River and its tributaries.
“It’s been a problem all my life,” said Dave Voges, a 73-year-old farmer who chairs the Honey Creek Levee Association, which maintains the levee.
Some of the tires are piled on Voges’ farmland, while others have been dumped on property owned by CSN, a Brazilian steel company with a plant in Vigo County.
Dale Sowards with the Vigo County Building Inspector’s office said he was unaware of the Honey Creek problem but he would check on it. He said unscrupulous firms charge people to dispose of tires and then illegally dump them at no cost to themselves. It’s almost impossible to trace the source of the tire, he said.
Massive tire dumps are handled by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.