DURHAM — State environmental regulators are enlisting the help of state prisoners to reduce the threat of fire at a dump containing millions of old tires.
Because the state lacks the $1.5 million to $2 million to clean up the dump, the prisoners will be reconfiguring the piles of tires to reduce the fire hazard.
The cleanup began Tuesday, with about 16 prisoners expected to participate. As many as 24 prisoners were to take part on some days, said project manager Terry McGovern of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The work will cost the DEP about $2,000 for food, gear and supervision of the prisoners from the state prerelease center in Hallowell, McGovern said.
The money will come from $15,000 held in escrow from the bank accounts of the dump’s owner, John Emerson.