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Site of tire fire eyed for recycling center

January 28, 2002

Site of tire fire eyed for recycling center



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


INWOOD, W.Va. - A 10-acre site where 3 million tires caught fire eight years is being considered as the home for a new recycling center, a county official said Sunday.

Hundreds of firefighters from the Tri-State area worked for 36 hours when the tire pile caught fire in September 1993.

The state Department of Environmental Protection spent $6 million cleaning up the site and has owned the property since then, said Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority.

Now the Solid Waste Authority wants the land to expand its trash recycling service in Inwood.

The Solid Waste Authority currently has a recycling bin, a newspaper recycling bin and a small building to accept mixed paper at Barnhart's grocery store along U.S. 11 in Inwood.

The recycling center, which is open on Mondays and Tuesdays, attracts up to 75 people a day and often turns people away because the bins fill up, said Hogbin.

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Figuring that demand for recycling services would only increase along with the population in the Inwood area, Authority members began looking for a larger piece of property for recycling operations, Hogbin said.

After looking at several locations, someone suggested the former tire pile site. Solid Waste Authority members contacted the DEP to tell them about the idea, and DEP officials immediately warmed up to it, Hogbin said.

Because the property, which is located along W.Va. 51 just off the Inwood exit of Interstate 81, is appraised at $60,000, DEP officials knew they could not recoup the $6 million they spent on cleanup of the property by selling it, Hogbin said.

DEP officials figured public use of the property would be the best use, Hogbin said.

The DEP agreed to sell the land to the Solid Waste Authority for $1.

The proposal had to be reviewed by several agencies, including Gov. Bob Wise's office, Hogbin said. And since the DEP cannot transfer property, it had to be handled through the state Department of Natural Resources, he said.

Everything looks favorable for the deal, although the DNR's Public Lands Corp. needs to hold one more meeting to approve the sale, Hogbin said.

If the Solid Waste Authority is successful in obtaining the land, six large recycling bins, two newspaper recycling bins and two buildings to accept mixed paper will be located at the site, Hogbin said.

The recycling bins that will be used for recycling, glass, aluminum and other materials are large "roll-off" bins that are about the size of a trailer on a tractor-trailer truck, Hogbin said.

The bins will be located along abutment walls the authority plans to build at the site, which will allow people to pull up to the bins easily and unload recyclables, he said.

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