Almost 500 tires removed from Casco woods

A MOUNTAIN OF TIRES was pulled out of the woods using an excavator. Almost 500 tires had been dumped and were removed from the ATV trail off Leach Hill Road. (Photo courtesy of Don Murphy)

A MOUNTAIN OF TIRES was pulled out of the woods using an excavator. Almost 500 tires had been dumped and were removed from the ATV trail off Leach Hill Road. (Photo courtesy of Don Murphy)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — On Friday, the rubber hit the road.

Old tires that had been dumped in the woods in Casco were loaded onto a truck bound for Massachusetts. After being hauled off by Bob’s Tire Company, the tires will be transferred to a business that recycles them.

Almost 500 tires were removed from the woods near the power line trail off Leach Hill Road. The abandoned tires were partially on private property owned by Rita Estes and partially on Hancock Lumber land.

“It is nice to drive through there, and not see them anymore,” said Bill Chute, who belongs to the Lake Region ATV Club.

According to Casco Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Don Murphy, getting rid of the massive amount of tires not only protects the groundwater supply, but also removes a potential fire hazard.

The tires, which had been dumped over the decades, were an eye sore for those who enjoyed the trail system that travels parallel to the power lines.

“There was no missing them. They were easy to spot, especially during the fall when the leaves went away,” Chute said.

So, what sort of manpower was involved in making 495 tossed-out tires go away?

This summer, a portion of the trail had eroded, leaving a three-foot-deep chasm in the middle of it. Gushing water from rainstorms had eaten away at the sandy earth on the downhill slope, and future water runoff needed to be diverted.

So, the Lake Region ATV Club was having some work done, and planned to use an excavator owned by Chute’s father, Larry Chute.

Bill Chute said that earlier in the year, Murphy was talking to him about tire piles around town — most of which Murphy had learned about through hunters. Chute mentioned the one off Leach Hill Road.

“He said, ‘Holy Mackerel, there is another one out there,’ ” Chute said.

Then, another conversation took place between Chute and Murphy during the month of August.

“ ‘We are doing repairs to the trails,’ I said to him. While we have machinery in there, we should remove the tires,” Chute said.

“I knew the tires were there; and I knew we would be doing trail repair,” he said.

So, Murphy started making phone calls to companies that dealt with hauling away used tires.

“It happened overnight. Things happened pretty quickly,” Chute said.

On Wednesday, Larry Chute used the excavator to dig up the tires. Many of the tires had trees growing through them, he said. Alongside the trail, Larry Chute created a mountain of tires. Later, he used the heavy machinery to load the tires into a dump truck. Those were taken to Skip’s Auto, where a driver from Bob’s Tire Company took the tires on the next leg of the journey.

Larry Chute commented that if a lightning strike ever hit a tree nearby, the tire pile could have turned into an inferno.

Murphy, who hiked out to see the unearthed tires, said debris from the tires seeped into the groundwater. It caused a sigh of relief to see the tire removal project unfold.

While the work was taking place, Rita Estes walked to the site. She was glad to see the tires removed from her acreage. She had even hauled a lone tire to the tire mountain, ensuring it wouldn’t be left behind.

Going forward, there are two other known piles. Unfortunately, those are located on privately-owned land and removal requires the permission of the current landowners, Murphy said.

“The Town of Casco CEO is requesting landowners or citizens to let us know about more,” he said.

Bill Chute, who owns the Trashman Services, said he was familiar with some of the uses for recycled tires.

“Mulch is a new and exciting thing they do with tires. I have rubber mulch at my house. It works great, keeps its color amazing well,” Chute said.

On Tuesday, Casco Town Manager Dave Morton commented on the coordinated effort.

“Through a fortuitous act, the ATV club removed a pile of tires on the property of Rita Estes. We worked with Skip’s Auto to remove them at no cost. There was a small trucking fee, but no cost to get rid of each tire,” Morton said.

“Remove these is removing a significant environmental hazard,” Morton said.

“We know of illegal tire piles. (These were) not necessarily created by the property owners,” he said.

The Casco Board of Selectmen will be setting a date, time and place for a free tire-riddance day for all residents. Board members said they would like to do this before summer residents leave.


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