Mayor Bill de Blasio Target NYCHA Rats For Extermination From Harlem To Hollis

April 17, 2018

Mayor Bill de Blasio today launched an aggressive, new extermination plan at the ten most infested rat developments at NYCHA. These developments will receive dry-ice abatement treatments, full-time exterminators, trash bins for residents and new concrete floors. This effort is a part of the Mayor’s $32 million effort to reduce the rat population by as much as 70% in the City’s most infested neighborhoods: the Grand Concourse area, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant.

This targeted pest management approach will attack rats’ food sources and burrows. These methods have proven effective at reducing rat reproduction and populations. The City will employ environmentally friendly rodenticide to reduce burrow counts, provide residents with smaller garbage bins are compatible with the dimensions of NYCHA trash chutes to reduce trash from collecting elsewhere on NYCHA grounds and seal off dirt basements with concrete to keep rats out of buildings.

“We want to make the greatest city on earth the worst place in the world to be a rat,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We are launching an all-out offensive to dramatically reduce the rat population at these developments and improve the quality of life for residents.”

“Through partnership with our colleagues at DOHMH and DSNY and working with our residents, we hope to finally take control of the rat problem at NYCHA,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “For too long, residents have had to accept rats as a regular presence but through the Mayor’s Rat Reduction Program, we have the resources and support to reduce infestations.”

The City aims to reduce the rat population at these ten developments where approximately 23,000 residents live:

  • Bushwick
  • Webster
  • Marcy
  • Butler
  • Morris I
  • Morris II
  • Riis I
  • Riis II
  • Morrissania
  • Hylan

The City will implement the following measures to reduce available habitats and food sources for rats, which will help to diminish the rodent population:

  • Dry-Ice Abatement: The City will start using dry ice to plug rat burrows at these developments. This humane, EPA-certified treatment will begin this week and continue until the end of June. Dry ice can be effective after one application, or depending on the location and severity of the infestation, after several subsequent applications.
  • Full-Time Exterminators: NYCHA will designate a full-time exterminator at each of these ten developments to respond to maintenance request and support dry ice treatments. NYCHA exterminators are currently assigned to a borough and rotate between developments.
  • New Waste Containers: The City will provide residents at these targeted developments with new trash bins this summer. These smaller bins are more compatible with the size of NYCHA’s trash chutes, which will prevent chutes from clogging and reduce trash from being deposited elsewhere on NYCHA grounds.
  • Replace dirt floors with concrete at 42 NYCHA buildings. All ‘rat slabs’ have been designed. The first half will be completed in 2018, the other half will be completed in 2019.

In July 2017, the Mayor launched the $32 million Neighborhood Rat Reduction plan to reduce the rat population in the three most infested neighborhoods in NYC. The de Blasio Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to preserve and strengthen public housing. Since 2014, the City has invested $1.3 billion to fix nearly 1,000 roofs and $555 million to repair deteriorating exterior brickwork at more 400 buildings. The Mayor also waived both NYCHA’s annual PILOT payment and NYPD payment, relieving NYCHA of nearly $300 million in operating expenses since 2014.

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“Rat mitigation is a serious issue that impacts neighborhoods across New York City, and particularly our public housing developments. It has been a mission of my administration to advance bold, aggressive action that combats these infestations, and dry ice treatments are absolutely one of the most meaningful ways we can achieve results. I thank the de Blasio Administration for heeding the calls of our tenants and proceeding with renewed reduction efforts at Bushwick Houses, Hylan Houses, and Marcy Houses,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Infestations of any kind means you have a quality of life issue on your hands, and it’s likely not the only one. We know this to be the case at Bushwick Houses. When rats take hold, and populations pervade, it is damaging in many ways. There are the obvious health risks to tenants and the Bushwick community, but it goes deeper than that. Infestations have serious psychological consequences such as depression and anxiety. The rat reduction program is well worth the investment, I thank Mayor de Blasio for taking it seriously,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.

“I am pleased that a targeted rat reduction plan will include NYCHA developments in my district. I have seen firsthand the rat burrows around the buildings at Morris and Butler Houses and how they affect tenant’s daily lives,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Most importantly, the health and safety of our NYCHA neighbors will be greatly improved as these vermin are driven out from their homes and neighborhoods. I look forward to working with the city to ensure this program is a success.”

“These efforts to reduce rat infestations in our NYCHA buildings are long overdue and crucial for the health of our communities. Rats pose health and sanitation threats that cultivate illnesses and diseases. I encourage all NYCHA residents to actively engage in the proposed efforts to eradicate the problem as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Assembly Member Maritza Davila.

“The prevailing issue of rats infestations has plagued New York City for decades,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Council’s Health Committee.

“The prevailing issue of rats infestations has plagued New York City for decades,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Council’s Health Committee. “Rats are not only a detriment to quality of life, but also to public health and safety. The City’s new initiative to attack this problem head on through expanded rat reduction programming at the most infested NYCHA developments is a step in the direction we need to take in every neighborhood facing this problem.”

“I am pleased to see that NYCHA campuses, many of which have long been plagued by rat infestations, are now being given the attention they deserve,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Dry ice treatments will help to quickly mitigate the rat population on NYCHA campuses. Furthermore, the partnership between NYCHA, DOHMH, and DSNY will create a long-term comprehensive strategy to limit future infestations and educate residents about the role they can play in the City’s Neighborhood Rat Reduction Program.”

“This additional rat reduction support will come as a welcome relief to the thousands of residents in my district who live in Riis Houses. No one in this city should have to live with the health hazards that come with rodent infestations, especially those in the housing we as a city manage,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “I look forward to working with the Mayor’s office on this expanded support and on future efforts throughout my district. Whether it’s in a NYCHA property, a public park, or a city street, we all must do our part to keep our city clean and help eliminate this pervasive health issue.”’

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