GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - Over ten years worth of tires have piled up on one Grayson county property and residents living nearby said they've had enough. Now, the county has too and after months of investigation, officials are holding the property owner accountable.
More than 200,000 tires that have been dumped on Brister Drive north of Whitesboro for 13 years. Residents around that property said they're concerned for their health and safety, especially since the tires collect standing water which can breed mosquitoes with West Nile.
Monday, Grayson county filed a civil suit against the property owner.
Brian Brennan lives along Brister road, two miles from where a quarter of a million tires have been dumped over 13 years. He's always been concerned about the environmental effects, but with all those tires collecting standing water, he's even more worried about the spread of West Nile.
"Mosquitoes are bad. I can't go outside, my dog, she got heartworms because of mosquitoes. We've been trying to get someone to do something, we can't get somebody to do anything," he said.
Monday, Grayson county filed a civil suit against property owner Tim Sommers. His company, Trident Environmental Resource Consulting, bought the 34-acre property in 2008.
"The new owners bought it from the county at a discount with the understood promise that it will be cleaned up. That was about four years ago and it's still not cleaned up," said the county's legal counsel, Atty. Daniel Ray.
"That apparently has not panned out for Mr. Sommers or it just has not become a priority for him. It is of course a big priority for Grayson county because of the threats to the health and safety of our residents," said Emergency Manager, Sarah Somers.
Somers said those tires pose a fire danger to surrounding residents. They're also breeding grounds for mosquitoes that could carry the West Nile Virus.
The county's legal counsel, Atty. Daniel Ray said they filed a civil suit to get TERC to get rid of the tires, eliminate mosquitoes and control the vegetation.
"To the best of our knowledge, there's not very much of any vector control in that area. Mosquitoes in that area are thick and so there's a worry that the mosquitoes are carrying West Nile Virus," he said.
"We do know this, if mosquitoes hatch out of those tires they have the flight range of up to one mile and there are several homes out there within a one mile radius of the tire dump so we're certainly concerned about that," said John Teel of the Grayson County Health Department.
Tim Sommers said crews have been cleaning up the site for months, the last time was in August. He said they've removed 49,000 tires and plan to go back again this month.
"It may seem like we're just sitting in our haunches doing nothing but I don't control the economy or the price of gas or the temperature each day, what more can they do? They can be upset about it all they want, I can only do what I can do physically and monetarily," he said.
"The guy says he was gonna have them out of here in ten months, well it's been three years ago and they're still here. I mean there's a lot of tires to try to get out of here to burn them and move them. He should've not gotten the property if he won't be able to do it," said Brennan.
"Polluters are gonna pay in Grayson County. You're not gonna be allowed to come up here and buy a piece of property and think you can make money out of it and not worry about the health and safety of residents. That's not okay here," said Ms. Somers.
Attorney Ray said a hearing has been set for October 1st, they will ask the court to have Tim Sommers remove the tires.
We'll continue to follow this story.