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Planning & Development Services

BernCo Removes More than 400 Tons of Used Tires from Pajarito Mesa

Bernalillo County health protection officials have successfully removed more than 400 tons of used tires from Pajarito Mesa and the Rio Puerco in far southwestern Bernalillo County.

State grant funds, community service labor, heavy equipment, a court order and careful planning by the county’s health protection team led to the removal of more than 800,000 pounds of tires from a private property.

“Bernalillo County has successfully removed a major source of environmental pollution and a public health hazard by executing a well-planned strategy,” Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada says. “Enforcing our solid waste and littering ordinances improves the quality of life for all in our communities.”

The tires were removed in two phases including April and May, and November and December 2016. Some were in arroyos, blocking the flow of rainwater to the Rio Puerco. Others made homes for rodents, snakes and mosquitos.

The county’s Planning and Development Services Department oversaw a comprehensive strategy to remove most of the estimated 100,000 tires located on a private property near the Rio Puerco.

First, the county’s Legal Department prosecuted the property owner for violating Bernalillo County’s solid waste ordinance, and the judge granted a court order allowing the county to enter the property and get to work.

Next, the county received two environmental cleanup grants from the New Mexico Environment Department, and spent about $79,000 on heavy equipment, dumpsters and transportation from the property to a tire recycling facility.

The county utilized community service workers from the Bernalillo County Clean Team and supplied some county equipment to see the job through.

Not all of the tires were removed because some of them were located in or near the Rio Puerco, and the ground was too muddy for the heavy equipment.

County leaders intend to keep pursuing the case in state District Court.


Pajarito Mesa Tire Clean Up
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