ST. MATTHEWS - Millions of old tires abandoned on acres of land in the Half Mile Swamp area of lower Calhoun County have caught the attention of the state Attorney General's Office.

Litter Control Officer Boyce Till, reporting on the issue Monday to Calhoun County Council, said that the tire dump is under investigation by the state and its Department of Health and Environmental Control.

"It's easily one million tires," he said.

Noting that the county has only a basic littering ordinance, he said the problem will require a "very costly clean up."

County Administrator Lee Prickett said the county's $400 fine for littering is not going to solve the problem.

Council Chairman David Summers compared the tire dump with a massive one in the Holly Hill area some 20 years or more ago.

Till said that he saw the Holly Hill dump when he was a DHEC employee.

"It's the exact same thing, if not worse," he said. "It's down in the woods ... down a two-rut road."

Prickett said that the authorities were contacted Thursday.

Till said he understands that two containers at the shipyard in Charleston are being tied up as part of the investigation.

The tires were bound for China until the market for rubber fell out and "we're stuck with the tires," he said.

Summers joked that he had his own suggestion on clearing up the problem.

"Get Shaw Air Force Base, when they're running maneuvers, to drop a napalm bomb," he said. "Let it burn all night and by the time (the media) gets over there with a camera, it will have burned out."

In other business, after a public hearing council agreed to keep up maintenance on rural Brigadoon Lane.

Marian Hodgson asked council last month to stop grading the road because she is afraid that hunters and ATV riders are making her property unsafe.

Several neighboring property owners opposed her request. For instance, Thomas Spires argued that keeping the road open is important.

Summers, who presided over the hearing, got comments from the increasingly vocal crowd.

"I'm just asking questions. I don't want to get in the middle of all this stuff," he said.

Prickett stressed that the county has no legal authority to close the shared road, only to stop maintenance. Property owners would have to go to Circuit Court to get the title straight, he said.

"We're a rural county. How are we going to stop people from hunting?" the administrator asked.

Councilman James Haigler said his understanding is that, even if the county stops maintenance, people could still use the road.

In other business, council:

Approved a planned website that will include details of what recreation sites, such as Eastman Park, the county has to offer. Those interested can sign up online to reserve use and can see rules, regulations and fees.

As recommended by Prickett, agreed to spend between $1,500 and $2,500 to get an architectural consultant to make drawings of proposed work at the old John Ford School.

Received as information, a report that site work has begun on the Creston Emergency Medical Services building.

Rejected the 2012 snow and ice removal agreement with the state Department of Transportation, due to new language that would hold the county liable for any damage incurred during the work and allow DOT to be held harmless.

Under the routine contract, the county crews would help DOT clear state roads first.

Approved a $11,640 proposal from Mid State Roofing for gutter maintenance at the courthouse.

n Approved a routine annual bond renewal insurance.

In closed, executive session, council discussed two separate personnel matters concerning the water department and the administration.

Contact the writer at tlyon@timesanddemocrat.com or call 803-533-5545.


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