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Guess how many illegally dumped tires the City of Rochester collects each year? Go on. Nope, higher. Higher.

The city picks up between 80,000 and 120,000 individual tires annually. That's a minimum of 20,000 sets.

"This is nothing new," says Norman Jones, commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Services. "I've been dealing with waste management for over 25 years now, and this has been going on for that long. And we've taken all kinds of approaches to deal with it."

Lighting and fencing usually work, Jones says, since the tire-dumpers tend to operate at night and in more isolated areas, where they're less likely to be caught.

Fencing deterred whoever was dumping approximately 700 to 800 tires a week in the area of Portland Avenue and North Street, Jones says. And the city has recently put up a fence beneath the Douglass-Anthony bridge off of South Avenue.

The site is a former homeless encampment that had become an illegal dumping ground for wood, tires, and all sorts of trash, Jones says. The city has had to make repeated clean-up trips there since the homeless vacated over the winter, he says.

"Once people see trash there, they start throwing their trash there," says city spokesperson Patrick Flanigan.

The city recycles the tires it picks up. It also takes tires that city residents leave out at their curbs. But given the volume of tires that the city collects, Flanigan suspects that many must come from outside the city.

"We throw out more tires than the city residents can generate," he says.

County residents can take their old passenger tires, with or without rims, to the Ecopark, 10 Avion Drive, Chili. There's a $5 fee.

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