A new service unveiled by the city will help Lawrence residents and businesses who are trying to get rid of old tires now that the local landfill won't take them.
Patricia Marvin, city recycling coordinator, said that the Lawrence Sanitation Department will collect old tires and haul them to a Leavenworth tire recycling center.
The announcement, which was made earlier this week, culminates city efforts to identify a means for tire disposal. The need for the service was brought on by a statewide moratorium on the dumping of tires in most sanitary landfills. The Douglas-Jefferson County Landfill stopped accepting tires on July 1, when a new law restricting tire disposal went into effect.
People with tires to dispose can contact the sanitation department at 841-1215 or the recycling hotline at 841-0811 to schedule a pickup.
The cost of the service will be borne by its users, Marvin said. Charges will run from $1.50 for each tire 15 inches and smaller in size to $15 per tire for those over 22.5 inches. Fees for the tire collections will be assessed on individuals' monthly water bills.
She said the charges were set to help the city recoup the cost of collecting the tires, taking them to a larger truck for shipment, and paying a $600 per load disposal fee charged by the recycling center.
"It costs money to dispose of tires," Marvin said.
Yet she said Lawrence is fortunate to have the program available.
"We had started working on this prior to July 1, so we were in kind of a good position compared to other cities," she said. "We were lucky to come up with something for the city."
Becker Used Tires is the Leavenworth company that has contracted with the city to take the tires. Marvin said the company will either recap and sell the tires or store them in a "monofill" a landfill that accepts a single type of product until a recycling market can be found for the tires.
When the local landfill started refusing to accept tires and the city sanitation department began refusing to collect tires, it left Lawrence residents with the Meadows Landfill in Shawnee County as the nearest place to legally dispose of tires. That situation brought about an increase in incidences of illegal tire dumping on land on the outskirts of the city.
"Any time you have a new way of handling a disposal, you're going to be getting illegal dumping," Marvin said.
The new service should help combat that illegal dumping, Marvin said. But she also is urging people to report illegal dumpers to law enforcement officials.
"Call the sheriff, call the police. Anybody who thinks the county is a dumping ground deserves to be reported," she said.