Your Feb. 26 article (“Can Greenville get the rubber off the roadside?“) hung another welcome light on the litter in Greenville County and the particular challenge posed by discarded tires. While it is probably true that tires dumped along roadsides are the most visible evidence of the problem, there is another place where this rubber trash has been discarded — and submerged — with regularity. That would be the Reedy River.
… one of the cleanups even showed that dumping tires in the Reedy may be something of a longstanding and unfortunate Greenville tradition …
Founded nearly 30 years ago, the Friends of the Reedy River (FoRR) has turned its river cleanups into signature river protection events. Year after year eager volunteers have willingly plunged into the river to pull out all manner of flotsam and jetsam. They have gathered that tonnage so that crews from cooperating Greenville city and county departments can employ heavy equipment and haul it away.
And every cleanup yields dozens (or scores) of tires. A few years ago, one of the cleanups even showed that dumping tires in the Reedy may be something of a longstanding and unfortunate Greenville tradition. A crew working near Cleveland Park pulled out a deeply submerged and odd-sized whitewall tire. To answer the questions of where it came from and how long had it been there, a little subsequent research revealed that tires with its dimensions were common on cars manufactured before World War II!
The pandemic gets the blame for the fact that, like most other gatherings, the Friends cleanups have had to be deferred. But, on the assumption that the combination of masking, social distancing and vaccination may permit a safe return, the Friends are recalibrating for a cleanup on April 17. Those who would like to make a dent in Greenville’s tire disposal problem or to help in other ways to improve the condition of one of Greenville’s most important assets should visit the Friends website (www.friendsofthereedyriver.org) for more information.
The writer served as a board member of the Friends of the Reedy River from 2013-2019.