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January 17, 2013

Vigo health board eyes tire storage, disposal

Ordinance would offer fines for violations

TERRE HAUTE — Those who improperly store tires outdoors could face fines under proposed changes to Vigo County’s tire storage ordinance.

In a related change, fines also would be levied against those who fail to produce documentation of proper disposal of tires.

The Vigo County Board of Health approved the proposed changes by a 6-0 vote Wednesday. The changes now go before county commissioners, and there will be opportunities for public comment.

The ordinance was originally passed in 2006, said Joni Wise, health department administrator. “We’ve seen what works and what can be done better,” she said prior to the meeting.

The proposed changes will enable the health department to better protect citizens from improper tire storage, which, in turn, serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus, she said.

Those with improper storage of tires would be expected to correct the problem immediately, and they would be given that opportunity before fines are assessed.

If they failed to address the problem, enforcement penalties would be $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Every day of a violation would be a separate violation.

In another proposed change, violators would no longer be given 10 days to correct the problem. It would have to be corrected immediately, Wise said.

“We’re not going to give them a choice,” said Mike Grayless of the vector control division. “They’re going to put them up or we’re going to fine them.”

The 2006 ordinance worked well, but in some cases, “people started learning ways to get around it,” he said. They would put tires inside for a while, and then bring them out again. Each time, the health department had to give 10 days’ notice.

Grayless noted that mosquitoes can go from an egg to adult in as little as seven days.

In a related change to the ordinance, those who dispose of tires would have to “immediately” provide documentation to the health department that tires were properly disposed.

Failure to produce documentation of proper disposal would result in a fine of $100 for the first offense and $250 for the second and subsequent offenses.

Other changes to the county’s tire storage ordinance would be a definition of “proper storage” and “improper storage.”

The definition of proper storage has become an issue, Wise said. Under the proposed definition, it would be a “permanent, solid, impermeable covered enclosure.”

Impermeable is defined as not allowing fluids to pass through. Use of tarp to cover tires would be considered improper storage.

Improper tire storage is not a big problem in the county, Wise said. But there is enough of a problem with some individuals and businesses “that we knew it was time to address it.”

If the changes are adopted, health officials will explain the changes to all tire retailers in the county, Grayless said.

• In a separate matter, Jane Keyes, public health nurse, noted that the health clinic is seeing a lot of people who want flu shots.  The department was down to about 20 doses in stock but has ordered more.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

 

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