Want the discount? It's time to start turning in those tires

In an effort to control mosquito populations in Island County, officials are offering a tire discount to help residents eliminate a popular breeding ground for the disease-spreading insects.

Starting today and running through July 20, the half-price discount will be offered to county residents wanting to get rid of junk tires.

Junk tires, which can accumulate stagnant pools of water, are a common breeding ground for mosquitos. According the Island County Health Department, one abandoned tire filled with water can produce up to 25,000 mosquitos throughout the summer.

Only passenger car and light truck tires qualify for the $3.10 discount and county residents are limited to five tires per household. Additional tires will be accepted at the full $6.20 price. Large tires, tires from businesses and tires on rims don't qualify for the discount.

Families with Solid Waste Low Income Discount cards can dispose of tires free of charge.

The week-long tire discount program is one portion of the county's four-part plan to reduce mosquito populations. Mosquitos are a carrier of West Nile Virus which has been spreading west in recent years.

In addition to the discount, the county has stepped up enforcement of solid waste regulations to encourage residents to remove junk from around their homes that collects water, said Island County Health Department Director Tim McDonald.

Although the county commissioners refused to hire a health educator this year, McDonald said that other officials have given presentations to local service clubs about mosquitoes and the virus.

The county is also undertaking a surveillance program to map out and identify the types of mosquitoes breeding in the county.

"The objective of the surveillance strategy is to detect species and identify where problem spots are," McDonald said.

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