- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - The Monocacy River’s tire dumping problem has proved to be a difficult one to solve for everyone from local environmental boards to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

This is the second year the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens Advisory Board has recruited volunteers to pick up tires and other debris from the riverbanks. The state Department of the Environment offers tire drop-off days through local Farm Bureaus, and the county has put up signs on bridges that cross the Monocacy, but these initiatives haven’t stopped old tires from appearing in the river.

“Many of the tires we pull from the river each year are leftovers from many, many years of dumping,” said Andrew Aughenbaugh, chairman of the Monocacy Scenic River Citizens’ Advisory Board.

The board consists of five Frederick County and five Carroll County residents. Aughenbaugh joined the board about six years ago and has lived in Carroll County since 1992.

“Since then,” he said, “I have made (the Monocacy) my home river and regularly spend a large amount of my time fishing and hunting the river.”

Aughenbaugh and the other members of the board are brainstorming ways to address the dumping issue. Frederick County’s liaison to the board, planner Tim Goodfellow, said board members have suggested mandating a drop-off point for old tires when purchasing new ones.

The Department of the Environment’s Scrap Tire Program is partially funded by the 80-cent recycling fee appended to all new tire purchases in the state. In March, the state approved funding through the program that would reimburse county Farm Bureaus for tire drop-off events.

The event the Frederick County Farm Bureau held in March was for bureau members only, but according to bureau president Charles Brault, they collected 769 tons of tires.

“I’d put money on a bet that this was the largest environmental cleanup ever in Frederick County,” Brault said.

The collected tires go to a licensed scrap tire processor or recycler, MDE spokesman Jay Apperson said. State law prohibits landfills from burying tires.

“The biggest issue with the tires is that tires do not sink into the soil and will surface if buried,” Aughenbaugh said.

Creating a market for the tires might lead to a solution for the Monocacy River’s littering troubles, Goodfellow said. The board has also discussed ways to get the tires into surfaces for playgrounds or into benches that can incorporate the material.

The board motivated the county last year to put up signs along the river’s crossings that warn of fines for littering, but the dumping continues.

Frederick County Recycling Outreach Program Coordinator Annmarie Creamer said the county is responsible for managing waste that is brought to its sites but does not oversee illegal waste dumping elsewhere.

Goodfellow said a lack of data makes it difficult to determine if the problem has gotten worse or better since the signs went up along the river.

Education, he said, would be the best solution.

“I think it’s just awareness of our fragile resources that we all share,” Goodfellow said.

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Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, https://www.fredericknewspost.com

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