What are illegal dumps and tire piles?
An illegal dump is a site where waste is disposed of without a permit. Illegal dumping is also called open dumping, fly dumping, or midnight dumping when materials are dumped in open areas, from vehicles along roads, or late at night. A legal, sanitary landfill is a land disposal site for non-hazardous household solid waste, where the waste is spread in compacted layers. Human exposure to landfill gas can cause respiratory problems, central nervous system damage, and cancer.
Illegally dumped materials can include construction waste, automobiles, auto parts, scrap tires, appliances, furniture, and medical waste. Scrap tires and bulky items may be illegally dumped because they are banned from landfills and their proper disposal may be expensive. An illegal dump can also contain any toxic chemicals or hazardous materials that someone chooses to discard.
Illegal dumps can cause not only the same human health risks as landfills, but also other health threats. Rodents, insects, and other disease-carrying pests are attracted to dump sites. Polluted water runoff from dump sites can contaminate wells and other sources of drinking water. Disease-carrying mosquitoes can breed in the rain water that collects inside discarded tires. Tire fires can burn for a long time, polluting the air, soil, and water with gases, heavy metals, and oil. Smoke from tire fires can include benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and styrene.
This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Illegal Dumping Prevention Guidebook (Environmental Protection Agency) (PDF — 1.11 MB)
Scrap Tires Basic Information (Environmental Protection Agency)
Scrap Tires: Frequent Questions (Environmental Protection Agency)
Tire Fires (Environmental Protection Agency)
Chemicals in Illegal Dumps
Are these chemicals in MY community?
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC)
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Last Updated: June 10, 2013