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State steps in to help Moroni remove former mud bog tires

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

6-6-2019

MORONI—What do you do with more than 1,000 tires that have been sitting on municipal land for at least 10 years?

The answer from the mayor and city council of Moroni was to get rid of them. But how?

Back in March, Mayor Paul Bailey and the city council tossed that problem to Bevan Wulfenstein, one of the council members. And at the May 16 council meeting, Wulfenstein had an answer.

The tire accumulation at the one-time Moroni mud bogs was big enough, Wulfenstein said, that the location met state criteria for a hazardous waste site.

That meant the Utah Division of Hazardous Waste and Radiation “will pay 100 percent of the cleanup cost of the tires.”

After visiting the site, a representative of the division asked the city to contact three contractors who specialized in tire cleanup, get bids and forward the bids to the state.

As of last Thursday, May 30, Wulfenstein said the division had chosen a contractor. The tire removal was expected to begin within a week or two.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the mud bogs, located west of the Moroni Opera House and a few blocks off Main Street, were the site of muddy truck and ATV competitions. Often the races were part of the Moroni Fourth of July celebration.

The site was watered down to create, just as the name describes it, a big mud bog. Tires were use to mark off the racing lanes. Then vehicles competed to be first to get through the mud and to the end of the track.

Wulfenstein said from what he has heard, success and notoriety killed off the races. Competitors from the Wasatch Front heard about the mud bogs, started entering the races and soon were winning all the prizes. The locals were shut out. The city dropped the races.

The current mayor and city council in Moroni have been focusing on cleanup and beautification of the town. In the March meeting, Wulfenstein brought up the mud bog grounds.

“There’s a lot of debris out there, a lot of garbage and stuff, and a lot of old tires.” Wulfenstein said he would be willing to take his pickup to the site and pick up garbage. But what about the tires?

“I think we’d have to call someone,” Councilman Fred Atkinson said. Mayor Paul Bailey said the city crews could pick up the trash. But he asked Wulfenstein to look into tire removal. “If you want to run with that…I think we’re all in favor of getting it cleaned up,” the mayor said.

Wulfenstein’s research led him to the state program.

At the same meeting, council members talked about making the mud bog site viable again for activities such as ATV rodeos or trap shooting.

Tires are a waste problem for a couple of reasons. Water can collect inside them, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can spread disease.

If taken to landfills, they take up a lot of space and are not biodegradable.

Wulfenstein said he had been told tires from the Moroni site would be ground into small pieces. Ground up rubber from tires is used in construction materials, road building and fuel, to name a few uses.