The county's "tired" tires may soon have a temporary home - a Lehi man is preparing to open Utah's first used tire storage center in late April.
Reid Wayman, 3561 N. Westlake Rd., plans to operate his Tire Re-cyclers Inc., on a 50-acre parcel of land near Lott Canyon on Lake Mountain on Utah Lake's west side.Wayman said the facility would feature areas of ground in which the tires would be buried in shallow trenches. The tires could then be "mined" once tire recycling becomes viable.
Along with his son, Craig, Way-man has been waging a small battle to get approval and licensing with state agencies for the past two years.
He told the Deseret News the process began when he contacted State Health Department officials about opening such a facility. "I found ground available which was flat and kind of saucer-shaped. It's a good piece of ground where storing the tires would not be unsightly, like it is in some places in Salt Lake."
Health Department officials asked Wayman whether or not opening the disposal site would affect land values nearby. "Fortunately, the land is located between powder companies with explosive plants," he said. "It's also located safely outside the companies' buffer zone."
Additionally, the state agency made certain stipulations as to the company's operations, Wayman said. "First, we have to put up earthen berms and dig trenches for the tire storage. Then we have to line the trenches with thin plastic layers and cover the tires with dirt."
Those stipulations should prevent any possible fire and health hazards the tires might present, especially with insects and rodents, he said.
After receiving the health department's blessings, Wayman said he had to pass stipulations from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Utah County Planning Commission, the Utah County Commission and the Utah County Health Department.
The last hurdle for the company was passed in February when Way-man received a 30-year lease from the Division of State Lands and Forestry for a right-of-way across state lands to get to the dump site.
Additionally, he said he has had pressure from Salt Lake-area tire dealers to drop the whole proposal. "I believe this company is something some Salt Lake interests would not like to see happen."
Wayman said many tire dealers in Salt Lake County have banded together to have their tires picked up and stored in warehouses and other buildings. "It's almost like one single entity. Without the new facility, it almost could have been a monopoly."
One mistake he said he made was storing more than 6,000 used tires on his property in anticipation of opening the business. Someone evidently informed health department officials that his stash could pose a health hazard.
However, with the facility on-line to open soon, Wayman has taken care of that program and said he does not plan to store the tires indefinitely, just bury them until recycling becomes economically feasible.
Such recycling efforts could include using the tires as a fuel source for electric power plants, such as is being done near Moapa, Nev., or burning them in concrete plants.
"There are a lot of experimental ideas out there," Wayman said. "Hopefully it won't be too long until they get past that stage."
For more information on the facility, contact Wayman at 768-9705.