Steve Robinson, owner of Envirotech Industries, had a vision. He got his hands on as many old tires as he could — 10 million by some estimates — and piled them in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Garbage? Hah! It was a modern day Peg Leg Gold Mine. Robinson was going to use secret giant microwaves to melt the tires into natural gas and oil!
Unfortunately, things didn’t work as planned. The microwaves fizzled, Envirotech Industries filed for bankruptcy, and Arizona has been left with 10 million beat-up tires. Worse, the state believes that the rubber mountain could catch fire and burn for over ten years.
Worry not, Arizona. Experience has taught us that collections of combustible junk can be piled high and turned into tourist destinations! Dan Van Meter did it with wooden pallets. Max Taubert did it with empty oil cans. Both created attractions that never burst into flame.
A small admission fee would help to pay off Robinson’s bills, and he could be put to work hosing down his tires, which would put Arizona at ease. Being on site would probably make him feel better, too, since the Arizona Republic reports that Robinson believes that “the state is trying to seize the tires for resale to a competitor” and that “someone is going to get rich off the tires.”
As someone directly involved in the cleanup of over 20 million tires from stockpiles nationwide, I would strongly suggest you have a huge liability and potential disaster in waiting. You do not have a pile that anybody will get rich off rather it will cost anywhere from $1 to $4 per tire (costs range from state to state depending on a number of factors ) to process and remove the tires. If you have an estimated 5-10 million, you can do the math. As these sites are very often a prime breeding ground for West Nile infected mosquitoes, I can’t imagine tourists will flock to experience that. As for Mr. Robinson’s technology that will microwave the tires and make somebody rich this is not new technology. Millions have been spent on similar ventures and, as was recently quoted at a conference I attended, those attempts to develop what may work in a lab into something that works on a large scale production level have been unsuccessful in 60 documented tries. You are one drunk idiot with a gas can away from a serious problem. If you do a little research on those states that have had to deal with the fallout of a significant tire fire it may increase the urgency with which you act. Respectfully submitted, Craig Detweiler, Entech Inc. White Pigeon, MI