Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fill abandoned mines with old tires?

Arizona State Mine Inspector Joe Hart yesterday proposed filling in abandoned mines with used tires. He told a Joint Appropriations Committee of the Arizona Legislature that current EPA rules prohibit such action because tires decompose in water, creating possible pollution in groundwater. Joe said his plan is to only use the old tires in situation where no groundwater was present in the mines. He also described placing the tires between layers of dirt to reduce the potential for contamination. He said this solves two problems - getting rid of all the used tires laying around, and filling in abandoned mines. Last year, the State Mine Inspector's office filled in 20 abandoned mines in Arizona. There are at least tens of thousands of such mines, many not even identified in the state inventory. Joe said the hazard is increasing as the population grows and more people recreate on ATVs and motorbikes. [above: tires dumped in an earth fissure in Apache Junction]

State Senator Jake Flake jokingly volunteered to help toss the old tires into the mines.

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