State environmental regulators say the tires pose no health risk and the state doesn't have the money to pay for removal.
The tires caught fire in 2002 and the fumes drove several residents from their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency was called to put out the fire. Residents and property owners at the time expressed concern the tires had contaminated ground water.
Lon Revall, manager of the scrap tire program for the state Environmental Protection Division, told Upson residents at a meeting last week that burning tires did not contaminate soil and ground water. Surface water at the foot of the tire pile tested positive for several metals and benzene, but not enough to harm human health or the environment, he said.
The former owner of the property, Frank Allen, obtained a permit from the EPD to open the tire dump in 1991. That permit was revoked shortly after it was issued, but the tires were already on the site. Allen's former wife currently owns the land.
Brian Wright, an environmental engineer with the state scrap tire program, said the EPD considered several options for dealing with the remaining tires: