They formed a human chain to haul the discarded tires out of the muck and through the trees.
It took a cadre of volunteers, police cadets and furloughed federal workers two hours on Thursday to clear more than 1,000 tires from a muddy stream bed and steep embankment at Fort Dupont Park.
Police said the tires had been dumped in the 376-acre expanse in Southeast Washington by one man who authorities believe was paid by auto body shops to unload used tires.
Instead of disposing of them properly, police said they think the man used a stolen truck with stolen license plates to dump them in a stream and an embankment near the ice arena.
Police with the Environmental Crimes Unit issued an arrest warrant for Deron McDonald, 56, charging him with illegal dumping. Public records show he may be from Virginia. Police said the tires were dumped on Nov. 6. The Environmental Crimes Unit is a little known group of officers who target illegal dumping and dangerous sanitation issues.
On Thursday, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham joined Tommy Wells, who is the director of the Department of Energy and Environment, police cadets and other volunteers as they picked up the discarded tires and loaded them onto trucks provided by the Department of Public Works.
Members of the Anacostia Watershed Society, a nonprofit, joined in to help. The tires were piled in and near an Anacostia tributary.
“It was completely unsightly,” said the group’s president, Jim Foster, who helped remove the tires and noted that they easily fill with water, becoming “perfect mosquito breeding grounds, and perfect rat condominiums.”