All parties -- public and private -- acted appropriately when 80 tons of old tires were discovered in the woods and marsh of St. Helena Island.
The pile was spotted during a Beaufort County Department of Mosquito Control helicopter flyover in December.
Within two months, a pile of tires that had accumulated over 50 years was gone.
The landowner's family paid thousands of dollars to get tires pulled from the marsh. The tires had been discarded by two men who ran a service station there. It closed more than a decade ago.
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The state Department of Health and Environmental Control acted quickly, giving the property owner 30 days to get the tires removed.
Discarded tires make perfect incubators for mosquitoes, and those in the tidal marsh have a higher rate of West Nile virus.
Beaufort County and the state cooperated to get the tires hauled from the site for recycling. They used money from a state waste-tire fund. Fifty cents for every tire sold in the state goes to this fund, which is set up to remedy what has long been a problem in South Carolina.
Last November, a news story about a pile of 250,000 discarded tires on a remote 50-acre tract in Calhoun County grabbed national attention when the County Council chairman said, "You can see it from space."
In that case, the state scrambled to find a responsible party, noting that a conviction of violating the state's solid waste act could lead to thousands of dollars in fines and up to a year in jail.
On St. Helena Island, most of the pile of discarded tires long predated the state's move in 1993 to make it illegal to pile up waste tires or put them in landfills.
Clearly, that state regulation is needed. Government oversight of individuals and businesses is often chided as intrusive and full of red tape. But solid waste regulations have great value to society and are necessary.
Government fees attached to goods and services also can be unpopular. But the fees in this situation -- part of the $2 charged for each new tire -- provide a needed and sensible solution to a common problem. The problem on St. Helena Island was resolved quickly, thanks in large part to the state's waste-tire fund.
Through public and private and cooperation, Beaufort County is cleaner and safer.