City of Akron overwhelmed by thousands of illegally dumped tires

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 10:23 PM EST
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - They call it the rubber city and Akron is now becoming known for its problem with illegal tire dumping.

19 News first told you about this issue last week, but we discovered the problem is even more pervasive than we thought.

The city of Akron has started keeping track of this problem which they admitted has been getting worse. They’ve identified nearly 3,000 tires that have been illegally dumped across the city and that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg.

“We got a couple of calls late last year just people couldn’t even get out of the driveways or alleyways when tires are dumped in specific areas,” said Jacqui Ricchiuti, Executive Director of Keep Akron Beautiful.

Ricchiuti said illegal dumping has been a problem in Akron for the past decade. Her organization organizes neighborhood cleanups and can help remove some of the tires.

“We’d send out staff out to remediate those, but the amount is alarming,” she said.

In Ohio, you are required to have a license to haul tires, but authorities suspect unlicensed haulers are profiting off of the shop’s need to get rid of the tires, which is a crime.

Just last week Akron police arrested a man for illegal dumping. They found 50 tires in the back of his U-Haul. He’s facing felony charges. Culprits of this crime in Ohio can face hefty fines and up to four years behind bars.

Eufrancia Lash is the Director of Neighborhood Assistance in Akron. He said they’re working with law enforcement to crack down on this crime.

“We have people who are out there the criminal element who you know they’re for whatever reason they’re actually, they’re renting trucks and stuffing used tires in U-Hauls then taking them to vacant properties and buildings and stuffing them in there trying to get rid of them so we’re placing a more focused concentration on abating this issue,” said Lash.

Last week Ken Swope reached out to 19 News, frustrated that after reporting a pile of tires dumped near his home to the city three times no one had come out to help.

“It’s terrible,” said Swope. “I mean, every morning I come up, I get into my truck, I go to work, I see this pile of tires. I’ve reported it to the city numerous times with nothing, they don’t do anything.”

Lash said they’re doing their best.

“Well, that’s something that we definitely are working on proper storage and disposition is something that we’re working on,” Lash said. “When we go out to collect these tires, we have to be able to take them somewhere, and to the point earlier the tire recycler that we’re working with has a set limit so we have to be strategic as to what locations we pick up and when we pick them up so it’s on the list and we’re moving our way through the list.”

Lash said the tire recycling company the city works with can only accept 200 tires per day. They are trying to see if they can expand that. He also tells me it’s a costly problem. It costs the city between $4 to $6 per tire depending on size.

“I understand their frustration,” he said. “I share their frustration. I would only ask them to remain vigilant again if they see something that does not look right, they see someone dumping tires, or something that doesn’t look kosher they should report it to us as soon as possible.”

Lash says if a company needs help getting rid of tires, they can reach out to the city for guidance.

Keep Akron Beautiful is applying for a $40,000 EPA grant this week to help remove the tires. They’ll find out in July if they’ll get the money.