Faced with a flood of used tires streaming into county dumps from out-of-county haulers, Harford has started charging for tires as a way to stem the flow.
"Clearly, this fee has made a difference," LarryKlimovitz, the county's director of administration.
In November, the county started charging fees to trash haulers who bring in bulk shipments of used tires to prevent out-of-county tires from being disposed in county facilities.
The county is charging$1.50 per car-size tire, $2 per truck-size tire, and $50 for each large-vehicle-size tire.
On Nov. 5, one of the county's two tire disposal days last month, haulers dumped 21,356 tires. The county received 18,826 tires in October and 8,894 tires in September.
The number of tires dumped dropped dramatically after the fees were imposed before the second disposal day in November. On that day, Nov. 19, 820 tires were dropped off.
The fee does not affect county residents, who are allowed to dispose of up to four tires at a time free of charge, Klimovitz said. The fee also is not charged for tires put out for routine trash collections.
The county accepts tires at the centrallandfill at Scarboro, north of Bel Air, and then stockpiles them at closed landfills in Abingdon and near Havre de Grace, Kli
The tires are incinerated, mostly during winter months, at the Waste-to-Energy Plant in the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground to increase the incinerator's steam generation.
If the county stopped accepting tires altogether now, it would still have a two-yearsupply of tires for the incinerator, Klimovitz said.
Harford has about 525,000 tires stockpiled -- nearly three times the amount a county with its population (185,000) should have, he said.
Administrators began seeing a marked increase in the number of tires going intothe county's waste system about six months ago, Klimovitz said.
"We were getting tractor trailer loads coming in," he said. Some trucks carried as many as 1,000 tires. Many of the tires were coming from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia, he said.
William Baker, director of the county Department of Public Works, said Harford started getting more out-of-county tires as other counties started establishing strict rules for accepting tires and other trash.
Because Harford did not charge a fee for disposing tires, haulers from other areasbegan bringing the tires to the county to cut expenses, Baker said.
"(The fee) is to make sure the county does not become a dumping ground for tires," he said. "We had to protect the county and its resources."
Public Works has a program for inspecting garbage to make sure none is from other counties, but Baker and Klimovitz said it's virtually impossible to tell where tires come from.
"There are no name tags," Klimovitz said.