• FOX13 Investigates: 10,000 tires still in South Memphis nearly 6 months after redemption program

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    SOUTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. - There are still 10,000 dirty tires sitting on a lot in South Memphis after nearly six months. 

    As FOX13 reported, the city of Memphis collected more than 50,000 tires in January during its Tire Redemption Program to get rid of blight and the city started removing some of those tires in April.

    RELATED: Shelby County commissioners working to hold companies accountable after tire redemption program

    But now there’s a hold up. 

    During FOX13’s most recent interview with the city’s Public Works Director Robert Knecht on April 12, he said the city moved away more than 21,000 tires this spring and the rest would be removed within 30 days. 

    FOX13’s Kirstin Garriss reached out the city and requested an interview with Knecht about the timeline for removing the rest of the tires. 

    In a statement to FOX13, Knecht said: 

    “We have had a three-week delay from Liberty Tire as they have not been able to send any trucks to collect. We have been in regular communication with Liberty Tire representatives who stated that they are working to get trucks to us next week.”

    But now something else is starting to build up in this same field and that’s standing water. 


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    People who live nearby didn’t want to talk on camera but told FOX13 they’re worried about snakes, rats and mosquitos. 

    FOX13’s chief meteorologist Joey Sulipeck said the combination of standing water and this steady summer heat isn’t a good one for this pile of tires.

    READ: Recycling tires could cost you more than you expect in Shelby County

    “[With] a cup full of water on your property, you can breed all types of mosquitoes. So, tires that’s a disaster because they absorb heat, they’re warm, they’re humid and if they’re filled with water that’s a perfect petri dish to have this explosion of mosquitoes,” he said. 

    Residents told FOX13 another major concern for them is the potential for smell. 

    During his most recent interview about the tire removal, Knecht said it will not cost the city more than the initial $100,000 they allotted to the Tire Redemption Program.

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