“Rat Infestation. Trust Us… VENGENCE IS COMING”

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A reader sends from 5th Street, NW in Shaw

And from the Mayor’s Office:

“There have been reports in the last days about rodent control on H Street NE.

It is true that the confluence of development and large scale construction, more and more restaurants and food establishments, the proximity of residents to businesses and the mild November and December this year has made rodent control a challenge along the H Street corridor. Unabated vacant properties and lots can also contribute to this issue.

Mayor Bowser is well aware of the challenges we face on H Street and has directed the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) to lead a multi-agency approach to address the issue. Department of Health (DOH) has dedicated inspectors and code enforcers in this area that monitor activity 4/5 days per week. They regularly abate on public property as well as work with residents and business when issues arise on private property. DOH was out on increased inspections as recently as yesterday and met with business owners to abate this issue. Department of Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Mayor’s Office along and local ANC Commissioners also recently did a “Vacant Property Walk” down H Street to identify vacant and distressed properties. This was not only for rodent control but occupied properties are generally more taken care of and can privately contact rodent and pest control.

This rodent issue was reported last night and this morning on news channels in DC – A few clarifying points:
· It was reported that DOH/the city is asking residents to sign a petition in order to get help to abate this problem. To be clear, DOH has already been abating public property in the area but to access private property (behind private fences for instance) they need permission and that is when a petition needs to be signed by residents.
· Concern for our pets – as a regular practice when DOH puts down abatement powders they only do so where family pets will not have access, they are equipped with shovels and either go underground or directly into holes or boroughs. And again, DOH needs permission to go on private property where residents can refuse service if they are concerned about their pets.

For several hours today DOH sent a team to assess the situation on H Street NE including a Citywide Rodent Taskforce. Several members of the Code Enforcement Division and a Sanitarian. They focused primarily on the 700 – 1000 blocks of H Street, but also looked the rest of the corridor. Again, this area is regularly visited. The Citywide Rodent Task Force, usually split out throughout the city regularly getting together on Fridays to attack challenging areas, abated several city blocks on both sides of H Street NE. Code enforcement checked all business in the area and made contact with those that need to do more to take care of their properties. Empty lots that were assessed as health risks were treated and DCRA was notified regarding any of these lots that are permitted for construction. The Sanitarian is able to go into and through businesses and can work with these businesses on areas of improvement in sanitation, cleanliness and following health codes.

Going forward, several problem spots were identified for weekly follow up. Several areas of concern were also reported to the Department of Public Works (DPW) including private dumpsters that have overflowing trash as well as private residences that either have trash in their yards and/or are overgrown that may be harboring rodents. These private businesses and residences will be warned or cited for their violation. Cold weather will also come in shortly and hopefully help this immediate concern as we work through these issues.

Ultimately this issue needs to be a public/private coordinated effort to be fully controlled. DOH will continue to abate public space and seek permission to enter private property as well as continue to work with DPW and DCRA to control trash and over growth. Private property owners must also do their part; restaurant/food based businesses are required to contract with rodent/pest control but non-food businesses are also encouraged to take precautions to protect their properties and the general public is encouraged to use pest control companies to protect their homes. All of this together is the way we will keep this rodent population under control.

If you see rodent or pest activity, please report to 311, download the app or to visit online click HERE

To request a new trash or recycling receptacle or a Supercan report to 311, additional information HERE

There is a wealth of information online and on the DC DOH website (http://doh.dc.gov/service/rodent-control) including the 10 Tips for Rodent Control below:
Ten Tips for Rodent Control

Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight lids.
Place trash outside shortly before pickup; don’t leave plastic garbage bags out overnight.
Remove weeds and debris near buildings and in yards; don’t give rats a place to hide.
Store opened food in metal or glass containers with tight lids.
Don’t leave extra pet food out; store it in a secure container.
Sweep up food remains, litter, and trash inside and outside your home.
Inspect your basement and house for cracks and holes; seal them with mortar.
Make sure you have screens on windows; inspect windows and screens for holes.
Keep outside doors closed; use metal trim to prevent rodents from gnawing and entering underneath.
Don’t provide hiding places for rodents; store materials such as lumber and boxes on a rack with a clean, open area underneath. Get rid of unused materials and junk.

Seth Shapiro
Ward 6 Liaison
Executive Office of the Mayor”

3 Comment

  • The only thing that should fear for its safety here is the English language

  • Item one on their list of tips is a problem, because all the trash cans have holes chewed in them. Every can on my block has at least one rat-door.
    Are they going to replace the cans? Am I expected to buy another one, which will take months to be delivered (if it ever is) and will get rat-trofitted within weeks? Or buy a metal can that the trash collectors may or may not empty?

    • I guess they expect you to store your trash in a metal bin until trash day, and then transfer it to the plastic one? I had that problem too (in VA) and it was really annoying.

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