County forms new environmental investigation unit

Environment Friendly Living

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) – A new environmental crimes unit is investigating the illegal dumping of tires.

County officials said for some reason, more tires are being dumped throughout the county.

Each day, Hamilton Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Caroline Kotlas drives around the county investigating hot spots where people dump tires and other trash.

“The environment affects all of our health. It shouldn’t be a political issue,” Deputy Kotlas said. “Once you open your eyes to see these things, or the ripple effect that these crimes can have on the community and the environmental impact – it’s pretty profound.”

Deputy Kotlas’s finds a lot of trash but her main focus is the illegal dumping of tires. There’s also a concern the tires can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“A tire fire is almost impossible to put out and it’s just so hazardous and dangerous,” Deputy Kotlas said. “Those mosquitoes carry blood-born pathogens like Zika, like West Nile, and they will travel 5 miles for a blood meal.”

Kotlas said there are hot spots around the county that dumpers target.

“That’s the construction debris I was telling you about see the shingles and stuff,” Kotlas said at a vacant property in Crosby Township. The property is secluded which makes it easy for people to dump tires and trash and tires under the cover of darkness.

“By the looks of this tire here, my guess is that it came from a tire shop. Not many people have the tools to cut a tire like that,” Deputy Kotlas said.

County officials worked with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, the Hamilton Co. Prosecutor’s Office and other organizations to create the Environmental Investigation Unit. Similar units exist in other Ohio cities.

“It is bizarre that in 2018 we are still talking about tire dumping. This is something we talked about when I first started here 20 years ago,” said Holly Christmann, Director of Hamilton County’s Department of Environmental Services.

Deputy Kotlas said it costs between $2.00 and $3.00 per tire to dispose of them properly. But she said some tire dealers will pay people to haul them away illegally to avoid paying the fee.

“There are individuals that will pick up a slew of tires and then go dump them for maybe 50 bucks. It’s to save money,” Deputy Kotlas said.

Deputy Kotlas said one man confessed to dumping 30 tires in a yard in Hooven. She said hauling more than 10 tires is a felony.

To report an illegal dumping click here or call 513.946.7788

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