UPDATE: EPA Cleaning up Massive Tire Dump in Lawrence County, Ohio

UPDATE 1/16/13 @ 6 p.m.
KITTS HILL, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Subcontractors with the Ohio EPA arrived in Kitts Hill to clean up a massive illegal tire dump.

Two hours into the project, they already determined it was much larger than originally thought.

"There are tires buried under this road," said Tim Warner with Liberty Tire Service. "All you gotta do is look through the hole and see all the tires laying there."

The amount of tires on this rural piece of property, roughly 1 mile off the main road, is estimated now to top 5,000 and is expected to take weeks to clean up.

"That's your tax dollars at work," said Dan Palmer with the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Authority. "We could never clean this up without the EPA. It would completely drain our budget."

Palmer says the land owner contacted his office after inheriting the 30 acres and discovered the tires after a would-be buyer called attention to the find.

"This has been a two-month investigation," Palmer said. "We determined the current owner is not responsible for this mess."

The Ohio EPA says the agency tries whenever possible to legally recoup the cost of such projects. Money from the EPA's Scrap Tire Budget in Ohio actually comes from the tire industry. If you buy a tire in Ohio, $1 of the purchase price is collected to go into that fund.

KITTS HILL, Ohio (WSAZ) -- It's not the image Lawrence County, Ohio officials hope you associate with rural, southern Ohio. Finding this tire dump has been like locating a "rubber needle" in a haystack.

"We may never know who did this" says Dan Palmer with Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste. "If convicted, someone could face a fine of up to $25,000 and up to four years in the state penitentiary.

The Solid Waste Office was notified when the inherited land owner contacted them. She discovered the tires deep within the 30-plus acres, located in Kitts Hill, Ohio, while trying to sell the land.

A two-month investigation determined the landowner was not responsible for the dump site. There's evidence many of the more than 5,000 tires are 40-years-old.

"We'll, it explains the mosquito problem we have" says neighbor Ralph Nelson. "Every time or warms up, they're everywhere.

The EPA, based in Logan, Ohio, has agreed to pay for the cleanup project.

Crews will be on site, Wednesday, to start the cleanup, which is expected to last several weeks.

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