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Businessman seeks county help on tire project

January 30, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Pennsylvania businessman requested Thursday that the Berkeley County Commissioners join him in developing a pilot project that would involve using old tires to build roads in the county.

Denzil Bailey, who appeared before the Jefferson County Commissioners last year about a tire recycling plan, said the process would involve using old tires as a base for roads.

Bailey said his processed rubber product would hold road foundations in place more effectively than conventional methods, and potholes in roads would be almost eliminated. Bailey said the project would involve a portable unit that would process the tires into road material. The road material would largely retain the orginal shape of the tire, Bailey said.

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County Commissioners President Jim Smith said he would want to be a part of any program that involved reusing tires because the county has spent a lot of money to dispose of them in recent years.

"It sounded interesting to me because tires are a serious problem," said Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham.

Disposal of tires has caused headaches in Berkeley and Jefferson counties in recent years. The worst involved a pile of about 3 million tires in Inwood, W.Va., that caught fire in September 1993. Hundreds of firefighters from the Tri-State area worked for 36 hours to bring the blaze under control.

Bailey said he realized that tire disposal in Berkeley County is a "volatile issue," but he said his operation would not involve stockpiling tires.

Smith suggested that Bailey's product be tested on new subdivision roads in the county that don't have asphalt. County officials also considered having the county's engineering department study the idea.

Bailey told the Jefferson County Commissioners last spring he was looking for a site to develop an industrial park that would recycle tires, aluminum and other materials. The commissioners encouraged Bailey to look at a former recycling building beside the Jefferson County Landfill for the operation.

Bailey said Thursday he looked at the building, but he was concerned that it was far away from local interstate systems.

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