Solving Ward 2’s Rat Problem

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Residents in Ward 2 and the rest of the District are searching for a solution to the city’s ratproblem. According to the Washington Post, calls made to 311 “are soaring” and city officials are using every method available to rid the city of the rodents. However, targeting rats where they live is only one part of the issue.

When the city evaluated the top problem areas, rats were found to be more prevalent along commercial corridors. In Ward 2, our commercial and residential zones are close together, adversely affecting residents. This assessment describes the entirety of Ward 2, which is why I continued to support funding of the Commercial Waste Compactor Demonstration Project Grant Program.

Rats have always been a problem for residents and businesses across Ward 2. As more people move to the District, more businesses open, ultimately leading to more trash — and more meals for rats. In 2016, I was successful in identifying funds to start the trash compactor grant program, which helps commercial properties afford a more sanitary and efficient means of disposing of garbage. I’m proud to continue this effort.

Several properties have taken advantage of the grant, including Duke’s Grocery on
17th Street NW. Duke’s and other businesses share a commitment to promoting healthy and safe communities.

A unified approach is the key to eradicating this citywide health and sanitation problem. The Department of Health has worked to combat the proliferation of rats. One success story has been in Dupont Circle, where DOH partnered with the National Park Service. This targeted effort resulted in largely ridding the park of burrows and rats.

I want to thank the members of DOH’s rodent control division for their hard work and responsiveness in Ward 2.

The Department of Health can take the fight to the rats where they live, but going after their food source is equally important. The compactor grant program is a positive step in that direction.

Please note that the grant application for 2019 is now available. To review the instructions, visit dslbd.dc.gov/compactor. The submission deadline is Friday, Dec. 7, at noon.

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