St. Louis Public Radio News
3:19 pm
Thu March 27, 2003

Old Tires Targeted in West Nile Virus Prevention

St. Louis, MO – The city of St. Louis, local governments in St. Louis County and citizen volunteers are joining the state of Missouri to combat the spread of West Nile Virus.

A number of groups are cleaning up illegally dumped tires where disease-carrying mosquitoes often breed.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will fund the program through a 50-cent fee on new tires. DNR's Roger Randolph also says the old tires the state collects serve a useful purpose as an energy source.

And so they're chipped up into small pieces about the size of coal and they're fired up in electric boilers, and it's a very clean fuel," Randolph said. "And so waste tires are kind of a valuable commodity as compared to just dumping them someplace; it's too good to dump, he added.

Last summer, St. Louis city and county reported a total of 116 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infection.