Next to disposable diapers, tires may be a landfill's worst enemy.

Tires don't decompose. They take up lots of space. Rats and mosquitoes love to hide in them. And, when buried in a landfill, tires eventually bubble up to the surface.From Payson to Layton, landfill operators are either just saying no to tires or charging hefty fees to dispose of them.

What to do with all those worn-out tires? Recycle them, says the Utah Legislature. During the 1990 session, the Legislature passed a bill that imposes a recycling fee on new-tire purchases and allows the money collected to be paid back out to companies that recycle old tires and similar materials.

The City-County Board of Health in Utah County has drafted regulations as mandated by the state for a tire recycling program and will accept public comment on the regulations at its regular meeting on Jan. 7.

Since July 1, 1990, consumers have paid a recycling fee on new-tire purchases that ranges from $1 to $2 depending on a tire's size. The fee is not imposed on recapped or resold used tires. Fees will be collected by tire retailers and given to the Utah State Tax Commission.

The regulations drafted by the state, which take effect on Jan. 1, 1991, one week before the county's scheduled public hearing, allow any person who recycles waste tires or similar materials to apply to the Health Department for partial reimbursement of the cost of that recycling effort. The reimbursement amount allowed is $21 per ton of tires recycled.

Two Utah County businesses currently recycle tires, according to Joseph K. Miner, Health Department director.

The regulations also establish an annual $10 permit fee for hauling waste tires. In addition, tire haulers would be required to keep logs showing the source of waste tires, tonnage, destination and dates of transportation.

Not all health board members are sold on the recycling program. Chairman Raymond C. Johnson said people already pay a fee to dump garbage off at a landfill; charging a recycling fee for tires is "unfair," Johnson said.

"I don't think the regulation is very good," he said.