ERJ staff report (R&PN)
Dallas, Texas -- The Dallas Marshal's office is stepping up enforcement of outdoor tyre display and scrap tyre handling regulations in and around Dallas in an effort to help slow the spread of the West Nile Virus, the mosquito-borne disease that has claimed the lives of 41 people so far in 2012, including 19 in Texas.
The agency's efforts are aimed at reducing potential mosquito breeding grounds because tyres filled with rain water make an ideal nesting area for mosquito nymphs, according to Dallas Marshal Deputy Chief Paul Hansen.
In an Aug. 22 press briefing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Texas is one of five states-the others being Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Dakota-that have produced about 75 percent of the reported 1,100-plus West Nile cases in the U.S. this year. More than half of those cases, 537, have come from Texas alone.
Hansen said a city ordinance makes it illegal for any scrap tyre generators to display or store tyres outside.
According to Hansen, officials with the Marshal's office visited 25 shops the week of Aug. 20 to check for proper documentation and permits and to search for tyres left out in the open. Violations were discovered in every case.
â€œSome of the tyre generators actually had the scrap tyre permit, but they weren't following the rules of the permit, which specify keeping those tyres stored indoors or under a roofed structure,â€ he said. â€œThe other vendors we went to didn't have a scrap tyre permit at all, which means the city is not really aware of them being scrap tyre generators, so they're not subject to the regular inspections.â€
In the past, Hansen said, city inspections at tyre dealerships came mostly in response to citizen complaints, but that has changed. â€œNow we're proactively going and doing inspections whether we have a complaint or not,â€ he said. â€œAny city official or agent is allowed by the city ordinance to go out and do this inspection. The difference between us and a code inspector is we're going to write a criminal citation.â€
These citations range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the nature of the violation, he said. â€œThere are literally hundreds of tyre shops in Dallas, so I see this going on for at least two months,â€ he said. â€œWe're going to turn all our findings over to code compliance so they can have a follow-up program for inspections. Hopefully we can bring all these guys into compliance because the fines are pretty harsh.â€
From Rubber & Plastics News (A Crain publication)