$23,118.20 unused grant funds to return to the district

ST. JAMES—Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE) – Correctional Industry that contracted with Ozark Rivers Solid Waste Management District (ORSWMD) for scrap tire disposal has immediately and indefinitely suspended all pick-up orders in the seven-county region, forcing the board to begin searching for a new tire disposal contractor.

“Missouri Vocational Enterprises collected and processed scrap tires,” said Tammy Snodgrass, assistant director at Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) and ORSWMD administrator. “They were contracted with Ozark Rivers for special collections and to help dispose of illegally dumped tires.”

MVE’s nonprofit tire program began with a grant, and the equipment now needs to be replaced. The contractor has determined the equipment is too costly to purchase and opted to end the tire program. Furthermore, the markets for recycled tires in Missouri have shrunk dramatically in recent years, which was also a factor in the decision to discontinue the service. Ozark Rivers Board Chairman Brady Wilson noted the inmates provided labor for the tire collections and disposal. Shutting down the facility will have a sizeable impact on the region.

“We may have to change how we do our program with a significant cost increase,” Wilson said.

The solid waste district has offered ORSWMD counties the opportunity to collect tires illegally dumped on the public right-of-way and paid for their disposal through MVE.

The board discussed permits required by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and more flexible bid specifications for future potential companies.

“DNR cleaned up 174 tire dumps last year. Since the program started, they have spent $23 million cleaning up 1,374 tire dumps,” Wilson said. “We don’t want to see those dump sites pop back up.”

Until another contractor is hired, tires will not be collected at the fall 2016 special collections events or city/county collections that used MVE.

The board also closed out or extended sub-grants in the region. The grants resulted in $23,118.20 in returned funds to ORSWMD from the Phelps County Courthouse Recycling, Household Hazardous Waste funds, Compost Education and the Salem Recycling Program.

Other business included:

• An invitation to the Ozark Rivers board to tour the Washington County landfill June 16. MRPC Environmental Specialist Jill Hollowell said the landfill is considered a state-of-the-art-facility.
• The completion of the Earth Day art show in Rolla.
• Board approval and close out of several sub grants.
• Approval of a request to cover the printing of recycling fliers for the Rolla Recycling Center community recycling awareness project from the Community Outreach Fund at a cost of $1,400.

The Ozark Rivers District includes Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities with populations of 500 or more. The district’s strategy for solid waste reduction, which has been individually adopted by all member governments and approved by MDNR, involves intense education and increased recycling efforts in member counties and cities.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission provides the day-to-day management for ORSWMD.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.