In a project that has been approximately four years in the making, the Walton County Solid Waste Department partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to remove 200 tons of used vehicle tires from a site just outside of Mossy Head.

"The site presented a host of issues related to public health and safety," said FDEP Environmental Specialist Mike Stephen. "Not only did the site attract mosquitoes and other animals such as rats and snakes, but these types of tire piles can also catch fire, which leads to additional environmental problems."

The tires were located on private property of which the owner had recently passed away due to health complications. Due to financial constraints, the owner was unable to clean the site on their own. With nowhere to turn, the surviving spouse contacted the FDEP for assistance in cleaning up the site.

"This was a herculean task to undertake," said Jeff Massey, Solid Waste Manger for Walton County. "When we received the call for assistance from the FDEP, we were more than happy to be part of the process. It is important for local and state agencies to work together to ensure the health and safety of our communities."

The site itself was estimated to contain approximately 19,400 tires that were in a variety of stages. There were approximately 2,000 tires that were in full form, while the rest of the tires were either shredded or cut in pieces.

According to Stephen, "The ability to work with the County Solid Waste Department to accomplish this task was wonderful. It is a testament to what can be done when agencies work together towards a common goal."