Officials take aim at forgotten pools in West Nile fight

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 17 at 8:30 AM

CARROLLTON - Neglected and abandoned pools now have the full attention of someone; officials looking to take away one of the breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus.

The City of Carrollton believes an abandoned pool led to a West Nile death in the city nine years ago. Since then, it adopted an aggressive program to combat the problem.

News 8 went with Carrollton's Environmental Services unit as it visited two vacant homes Thursday where standing water is a problem. They cleaned a pool at one home, a pond in the other. Both the pool and the pond were dirty and infested with green algae.

Residents alerted them to the problem.

"Right now, we are trying to mitigate the spread of West Nile," said Travis Caperton, with Carrollton's Environmental Services team. "We just can't let sit like this."

So far this year, the city has received more than 200 pool violations. For the city, green pools threaten lives, and it tries to respond to every complaint within 48 hours.

"It's very serious, especially with these pools, because it does not take very long for it to look like this," Caperton said.

The city aims to take action within two weeks, whether the home is occupied or not. Treating the problem is the priority - shocking them with concentrated amounts of chlorine and mosquito-killing chemicals.

When the owners are living on the property, they try to work with the person. If the person fails to comply, the city hands out citations.

News 8 has received several calls from residents in the Preston Hollow neighborhood in Dallas. They are concerned about neglected pools in their area. HD Chopper 8 flew over the pools which are located in ZIP codes where at least four people have died from West Nile.

Barbara Best lives by one dirty pool on Prestonshire. The pool was reported to 311 in early August.

She and her neighbors want the city to adopt emergency measures, so it can immediately address the problem.

"When they wait a little bit, the mosquitoes breed every night, every day," Best said. "I'm concerned. That's why I'm all bundled up."

Dallas code officials told us the problem is important and these residents' concerns are valid, but they admit they are swamped because they are dealing with aerial spraying logistics. The city promised it will look into the violations.

Back in Carrollton, the problem can't wait.

"It's only going to get worse," Caperton said. "The mosquitoes are going to get worse."

GET RID OF STANDING WATER:

  • Empty, remove, cover or turn upside down any containers that will hold standing water (bottles, cans, tires, buckets, flower pots, etc.)
  • Change water in pet dishes, wading pools, and birdbaths several times a week.
  • Cover trash containers so they will not collect water.
  • If you know of a green pool, call your city. In Dallas, call 311.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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