SWP, city of Marquette clean up tires from former dump site

Superior Watershed Partnership's Great Lakes Conservation Corps crew members stand next to piles of tires collected from the former Marquette city dump site along Pioneer Road. It’s important to pick up these discarded tires and properly dispose of tires, organizers said, as tires contain a number of harmful chemicals and heavy metals that can leach into lands and waters. (Photos courtesy of Superior Watershed Partnership)

By CECILIA BROWN

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Old tires contain chemicals and heavy metals that can leach into the environment, polluting lands and waters when they are abandoned outdoors.

Due to this, nearly 500 tires were removed from the former Marquette dump site along Pioneer Road this summer after a combined effort between the Superior Watershed Partnership’s Great Lakes Conservation Corps and the city.

The project began in June when “crews were deployed to the site to locate and inventory the tires,” and spent around two weeks collecting 471 tires — ranging from standard car tires to large industrial ones — that are now “stockpiled for proper disposal,” SWP GLCC Coordinator Camila Dul said in an email.

It started after the “issue was identified by local citizens and news articles regarding the old dump,” and the SWP reached out to Marquette City Manager Mike Angeli to offer assistance with the project, Dul said.

“The city was fortunate to have the assistance, both financial and physical, of the Superior Watershed Partnership in the cleanup,” Angeli said in an email. “Without their help it would have been difficult and costly for us to do the work on our own and (we) thank them for reaching out to us to offer their assistance.”

Removing the tires and properly disposing of them is critical, Dul said, as discarded tires “contain chemicals and heavy metals that leach into the environment as they break down and also provide a breeding ground for mosquitos and other pests.

“Tires can cause health and environmental problems such as polluting groundwater and surface waters, the forest and the roadside if not properly disposed of.”

Dul emphasized tires should be “disposed of properly at tire collection sites,” noting the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority is holding scrap tire collection events this summer and fall with a Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes and Environment grant.

The next event will be held 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Negaunee Township Hall. Additional collections will take place 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at Sands Township Hall and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Skandia West Branch Transfer Station. To learn more, visit mcswma.com/2019-scrap-tire-collection-schedule.

The city and SWP look forward to future work together on this project and others, Dul said, noting that while plans for further work at this site haven’t yet been finalized, the SWP has offered its ongoing support to the city.

“The city of Marquette and the SWP have a long-standing partnership and have implemented numerous projects that benefit both the environment and city residents for many years,” Dul said. “The city is the lead on the tire cleanup efforts for this site and the SWP continues to support these efforts as needed.”

For those who wish to get involved, the Superior Watershed Partnership’s Great Lakes Conservation Corps hosts volunteer events for the Lake Superior Volunteer Corps. Interested parties can visit www.superiorwatersheds.org, the organization’s Facebook page, or call 906-228-6095 to learn more and find out about upcoming events.

The Superior Watershed Partnership is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that carries out conservation and public education projects, which include pollution prevention, energy conservation, native plant restoration, water quality, stormwater management and more.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.

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