Proposed tire recycler faces dumping charge

March 06, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Bunker Hill man, who has proposed a tire recycling program to the Berkeley County Commissioners, faces a charge of creating an open dump in connection with the piling of 500 tires off Grade Road last fall, according court records and officials.

Denzil Bailey said he stacked the tires off Grade Road to start a pilot project that involved using old tires as a road base to repair streets. But after he stacked the tires, a neighbor complained and an inspector with the Division of Environmental Protection filed the charge against Bailey, according to court records and county officials.

The charge, pending in Berkeley County Magistrate Court, carries a possible fine of up to $25,000 and up to a year in jail.


Bailey defended the project, saying all he wanted to do was test his material. "I'm not about making dumps," he said.

Bailey said he asked officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways last year if they would be interested in testing his product in Berkeley County. Highway officials suggested its use on a section of Grade Road near Falling Waters, Bailey said.

Bailey said his product involves cutting used tires and fastening them to a mat. Bailey said the mat holds road foundations in place more effectively than conventional methods, and that potholes in roads would be almost eliminated.

"The idea sounded fairly reasonable," said Bud Donaldson, Berkeley County highways supervisor. Donaldson said he discussed the idea with Bailey, but told him that special permits might be needed.

Donaldson said that before he could look into the matter, Bailey began hauling tires to the site.

Bailey is charged with creating an open dump along Lee Lane off Grade Road on Sept. 16, according to magistrate court records. Bailey was given until Oct. 25 to remove the 500 ties, according to the records.

When a state inspector checked the site on Oct. 29, about 80 tires remained, the records show.

Donaldson said his department removed many of the remaining tires.

"The property owners were so upset, we felt obligated to move the tires," said Donaldson.

Bailey asked the Berkeley County Commissioners in a Jan. 30 meeting to join him in developing a pilot project that would involve using old tires as a base for roads.

Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham, who has been interested in Bailey's proposal, said he understood that Bailey had receieved all the necessary approvals to begin the project on Grade Road.

"I think we're still going to take a look at it. The whole concept seeemed good," said Dunham.

But County Administrator Deborah E. Sheetenhelm said the commissioners will probably want to evaluate the complaint and any work Bailey did with the highways department before they decide whether they want to go further.

Commissioners President Jim Smith has suggested that Bailey's material be tested on new subdivision roads in the county that don't have asphalt.

But Smith said Wednesday that he's not interested in carrying through with the proposal until the court case is settled.

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