Tires, tires everywhere: What is St. Clair County doing about illegal dumping?

News-DemocratApril 16, 2014 

Thieves are stealing large piles of old tires, selling the few reusable tires and dumping the rest illegally, according to police and a state environmental officer.

The issue came up during a recent meeting of the St. Clair County Environment Committee, which is led by County Board members.

The county's environmental officer, St. Clair County Sheriff's Deputy Xavier Blackburn, said deputies have handled a lot of cases involving the illegal dumping of tires overnight at Belleville businesses. Four cases of illegal dumping have been reported in Belleville in the past two months.

The dumped tires are the end result of unlicensed tire sellers collecting old tires at small garages and other sites, according to Chris Cahnovsky with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Some of the tire collections are done with the permission of the garage owner -- others are stolen at night.

"What we're finding is these guys are taking all the scrap tires to glean out five or six good tires in the bunch, then sell that for money and dump the rest," Cahnovsky said.

Police have no suspects in the latest instances because word has gotten out increased patrols are looking to cite those dumping tires illegally, Blackburn said.

County Board member David Tiedemann, of Shiloh, chairs the committee and said its members should consider supporting changes in state statute that would close loopholes allowing unlicensed people to collect tires.

For example, Cahnovsky said one possible solution could be requiring small retailers to keep receipts when allowing someone to collect old tires. Those receipts would be reported to the state's Environmental Protection Agency like hazardous waste.

On March 29, two men were arrested for allegedly dumping more than 50 tires inside an empty building in East St. Louis. The building, which once housed Club Casino, had nearly 1,000 tires in it when people checked inside.

Patrick A. Singleton, 32, of Granite City, and Robert L. Evans Jr., 34, of O'Fallon, each face a felony charge of criminal disposal of waste (open dumping).

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at or 618-239-2501.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at or 618-239-2501.

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