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A South Carolina man faces littering fines in connection with a massive tire pile visible from space, and now authorities are piling on more charges.
Grand juries in two counties have indicted George Fontella Brown, 39, for violating the state's waste disposal law. The indictments accuse Brown of dumping at least 250,000 used tires across more than 50 acres of property, The Times and Democrat reports.
"You can see it from space," Calhoun County Council Chairman David Summers told the Associated Press. CBS Charlotte posted a satellite image showing the rubber field of dreams on its website.
Local laws allow Brown to be fined $475 for littering, but that wasn't enough for health and litter control authorities. They pushed for Brown's indictment on state charges, which means he could face up to a year in jail and thousands more dollars in fines, the AP reports.
It's not clear how the old tires ended up strewn across the empty lots in an area known as the Half Mile Swamp. But neighbors noted the tires piling up at least two years ago, well before it was visible from space, The Times and Democrat reports.
Health officials were concerned that stagnant water could pool in and around the tire pile, which could encourage mosquitoes to multiply. They were also concerned the tire pile could catch fire.
The used tires were likely stockpiled for resale, but the bad economy probably made that plan impractical, a litter control officer told The Times and Democrat. Crews are now working to remove the tires and dispose of them properly.
Believe it or not, Brown's alleged tire pile, isn't even the largest to tread this part of South Carolina in recent memory. Another humongous tire pile in the 1990s comprised about half a million tires and towered about 15 feet in the air, Summers recalled.