New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has set limits for on-farm storage of waste tires, even allowing for “beneficial use” of tires to hold down covers with certain restrictions. Reason — rising public health concerns about zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.
The beneficial-use determination requires tires to be either halved or have holes in them to prevent water retention. These rules will have important impacts on agricultural and other uses of waste tires.
Currently, for a farm to be in compliance with the new regulation there can only be 0.25 passenger tire equivalent per square foot of bunker silo coverage. And, all the tires would either have to be cut in half or have holes drilled in them. The deadline for implementation is May 2.
Since the regulations were released, a group of farmers, advisers, Pro-Dairy and the Northeast Dairy Producers Association have begun work to help DEC understand practical issues involved. They’re also exploring a more reasonable implementation schedule.
A most tires farmers have on bunk silos are radial-ply tires, having metal wires in the tread and side walls. Cutting in half or stamping plugs out of sidewalls of radial-ply tires can difficult to begin with, and poses health risks for farm staff doing the modification and subsequent handling.
Start thinking about how this solid waste regulation might impact your farm. Farmers are encouraged to no longer accept tires to use for bunker covers if they can’t meet the halving or holing requirement set by this regulation.
Penn State University Extension developed a tire management document with best management practices for farmers. It may be a handy resource as you begin to consider bunker tire management.