Hale County planning cleanup of tire recycling center - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Hale County planning cleanup of tire recycling center

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Over the last six years, officials estimate 4 million tires have piled up in the Tyre King Recycling Center lot, bringing mosquitoes, rodents, snakes, and more.

"It's just the greatest potential hazard in this community that we have identified up to this point," says Hale County Judge Bill Coleman,

Former owner Santos Barcenas has been in default since 2009, when he was first cited by The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality or TCEQ.

After no one bid on the property for the pubic auction, it's falling into the county's hands. Judge Bill Coleman says their legal council advised them against taking the title.

"Sometimes what's legal is not always right. There's no way we could go home and sleep at night or face the people of this community and just say oh well we didn't have to do it so we're not going to do it."

Residents in the area surrounding the tires say they're worried for their children if the problem isn't resolved.

"We've got grandkids, and we're worried, a lot of the snakes are over there, they might come this way," said Domingo Marcus, who has lived in the area for 22 years.

The county will have to purchase a $100,000 piece of equipment to transfer the tires to State Rubber, a recycling company that will dispose of them at no charge over the next 18 to 24 months, but the money isn't their only concern.

"How will TCEQ look at us, now that we own that property? Will they come in with some kind of unrealistic timeline for us to have to get this taken care of? When over a period of six years they let it happen?" Judge Coleman said. "I think it would be only fair if we got six years to clean it up."

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