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Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas announced Friday that the county has collected 52,000 waste tires during its second annual Volunteer Tire Amnesty Program -- which brings the total number of waste tires collected in the last three years to more than 418,000.

The tires are brought by the 44 local governments to the central landfill here. No disposal fee is charged. Once in place, they are compressed into 4-by-5-foot bales, which are then used as road sub-grade materials.

These bales were used in the reconstruction of East Road in the Town of Charlotte during this construction season. A total of 350,000 tires have been used in road reconstruction projects in the towns of Ellery and Stockton in addition to Charlotte, county officials said.

The amnesty program has been unanimously authorized by the County Legislature in each of the last two years. The county Health Department requested a program as part of the effort to help reduce the potential spread of the West Nile virus by eliminating a common mosquito-breeding habitat in the water that collects in tires.

The county has been able to offer the program as a result of a research, development and demonstration permit granted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The road construction portion of the program is subject to review by the state Department of Transportation.

"This program is an excellent example of the state, county and local governments working together to implement a creative and effective public program that benefits taxpayers and residents of the county," Thomas said.

"As we continue to seek solutions in our never-ending battle with waste tires, we have demonstrated, yet again, that we can establish viable disposal alternatives."

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