Irving stands by choice to refuse aerial spraying over residential areas

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on September 14, 2012 at 10:21 PM

IRVING -- In the face of a growing West Nile virus threat, most Dallas County communities opted to aerially spray their urban centers. The City of Irving, on the other hand, chose the opposite.

It only wanted to spray uninhabited park land, despite three West Nile-related deaths in the city.

The idea, records show, was repeatedly rejected by experts. So, how did they make that decision?

Chris Hooper with the City of Irving said they rely on a number of people.

"We have our health board," Hooper said. "We also have our on-site vector control program that has been working on the ground, attacking the problem for quite some time. We also rely on our community partners, which is state agencies and also the county."

During the first big round of spraying on Aug. 19, Irving's request for limited spraying of parkland was shot down. The next day, Clarke, the company running the spray operation confirmed to the city they were not in the spray zone for aerial application.

After that, there appears to be no communication between Irving and Clarke until August 24. That's when News 8 broke the news of a second West Nile-related death in Irving.

Four days after that news, on Aug. 28, Irving again requested the same limited, spraying of uninhabited parkland. Again they were rejected.

Clarke said the state would revisit aerially spraying in Irving if "areas include residential areas."

Hooper said the city is doing what they believe is best for residents.

"You know, we look at what's best for the residents of our community," he said. "So we have individuals and groups that are giving us feedback from both sides. So at the end of the day, you have to make the decision you think is best for the residents that you serve."

Community feedback, however, is different than science.

And that's why, in reference to Irving, the Dallas County Medical Society wrote News 8, "Ironically, they need to switch the strategy. Ground [spraying] for the uninhabited [areas], and air [spraying] for the urban areas."

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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