SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A man has been charged after more than 17 tons of tires were found dumped at multiple locations in Spartanburg County.

“The amount was definitely shocking, the fact that people are dumping, that’s not shocking at all,” said Dallas Kirby, Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Officer.

According to Spartanburg County, Terry Scott Owens, of Travelers Rest, confessed to dumping 2,500 tires since July 2022 in areas near Duncan, Lyman, and Wellford.

Officers with the county’s Environmental Enforcement Department found at least five locations where the dumping occurred. They have collected 1,115 tires weighing 17.85 tons, the county said.

Owens is charged with five counts of littering exceeding 500 pounds.

“He told us he actually started a little business on his own and he would go to various tire locations, and they would pay him to dump their waste tires,” said Jamie Nelson, director of the Spartanburg County Environmental Enforcement Department.

According to warrants, Owens dumped tires along East Wade Hampton Boulevard in Lyman, along East Main Street in Duncan, along Shelburne Lane in Lyman, on Tapp Circle in Lyman, and on East Poinsett Street Extension in Greer.

Officers said tire dumping has grown more common recently, which they said doesn’t surprise them, as it’s a domino effect.

“The more times an area gets dumped, the more times other people will view that and say ‘well if they are dumping their stuff’…it’s just an ongoing issue,” said Kirby. “Unless we get out there, we enforce it and we do it, then it’s never going to stop.”

Aside from ruining the value of a property, dumping items like tires, especially this amount, is detrimental to the environment.

“Do we need to up the litter fines? I don’t think so,” said Nelson. “I think the litter fines are where they need to be. I think it’s time we get together and look at items specifically such as tires, because this is ridiculous.” 

Spartanburg County’s Environmental Enforcement Department said if you witness any acts of littering or illegal dumping, you are encouraged to report it to local law enforcement.

Owens was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center Saturday and has since been released.