St. Louis Public Radio News
7:32 am
Tue September 8, 2009

Illinois EPA threatens fines for improper tire storage

Springfield, Ill. – Leaving old tires uncovered could result in a $1,500 fine in Illinois.

Used tires make the perfect habitat for mosquito breeding, said the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's Todd Marvel.

"The way they're shaped, once they're taken off the rim, and the fact that they're black and they hold in heat, nice and warm, they accumulate water, they get that organic matter in there, and they're an ideal breeding habitat for mosquito larvae."

That's especially true for the species of mosquito that carries the deadly West Nile virus. Marvel said that makes tires a health hazard.

A new state law gives the Illinois EPA the authority to fine retailers and others who don't store their tires properly.

Although Marvel said it's not aimed at individuals, it does apply to households with more than a dozen tires. But Representative Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica, argued it gives the state EPA too much authority.

"The EPA does not need a bigger hammer, they have all they need right now," Sacia said. "This is highly, highly invasive legislation."

The Illinois EPA's Marvel said the agency had continually inspected some violators, and no change occurred. He said this gives the EPA more enforcement capability.