MOUNT VERNON — The town’s property owners will foot the bill for 200 tires illegally dumped down a hillside on Cottle Hill Road.

The illegal dump was cleaned up through the combined efforts of selectmen and inmates on a work detail from the Kennebec County jail in Augusta.

The tire pile “was quite an impressive mess,” said Bruce Inch, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “They had to have been taken there by a really large vehicle or the person that did it had to take multiple trips.”

Inch and other selectmen are hoping that someone saw either the tires being dumped or a truck making numerous trips to the area.

It took three trips each by three pickup trucks and a trailer to ferry the tires to the transfer station, and each tire will cost the town $2 for disposal. “Taxpayers should know it’s now going to cost us over $400 to get rid of these tires,” Inch said. “Everybody loses when somebody does something like this.”

Other towns deal with similar problems, including Litchfield, where Elaine Carpenter — the town employee who staffs that town’s transfer station — hears similar stories.

Boy Scouts there rounded up six dozen tires from Gustin Road in one cleanup this year and brought them to the Litchfield Transfer Station.

The state steps in when a tire pile has accumulated over the years and the tires themselves number in the millions. It also can sometimes facilitate — but not fund — smaller cleanups, according to Paula Clark, director of the Division of Solid Waste Management at the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“We have always seen those disposal problems historically,” Clark said. “Tires are common and so are appliances. Often it’s because transfer stations charge an additional fee.”

The Mount Vernon tire cleanup was done the morning of Nov. 17.

“The inmates worked really hard and did a wonderful job,” said Inch, whose pickup truck was one of those used to carry the tires to the transfer station. “The hill they had been dumped over was quite steep.”

In an article in the town newsletter, Inch wrote, “The corrections work detail had to throw the rain water-filled tires up over the muddy bank to be loaded on the trucks because someone decided to dump the tires to save themselves the cost of leaving the tires legally at their own local landfill … at a probable cost.”

Inch also said it’s not the first time the site has been used as an illegal dump.

“Each and every time this happens the costs are passed on to the Mt. Vernon taxpayers,” Inch wrote on behalf of the board. “We are asking citizens on the Cottle Hill and Bean roads to please keep an eye out for trucks that might seem suspicious carrying old tires and/or appliances in these areas.

“If you can get a license plate number and/or description and make of vehicle, without risk to yourself, give us a call immediately. One of us should be at the other end of the phone at which point we’ll take follow-up action.”

Inch pointed out that a new law increases fines for illegal dumping and allows a court to order surrender of a license, or other state certification held by someone person who violates the act.

“My guess is it’s not a Mount Vernon resident who did this, but it could be anybody,” he said, noting that the area borders several other communities, including Belgrade, Manchester, Readfield and Augusta.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.