Oh Rats! Rats Are Back! ANC Resolves to Eradicate Them … Again 


It was almost four years ago — September 12, 2018, to be precise — when The Georgetowner wrote “Rats: It Takes A Village” to rid Georgetown and most of Washington, D.C., of a visibly increasing rat problem.

Solutions from enhanced commercial trash compacters and new publicly distributed sealed containers picked up twice a week, to dry ice and trained dog rat packs seemed to take care of the most severe problems around the mixed commercial-residential areas of Georgetown, especially along M Street and parts of  Potomac Street north.

Then, the pandemic struck. Restaurants, cafes and delis closed down or went to total customer take-out. The major food source for rats around the commercial streets of Georgetown went mobile. So, then, apparently did the rats. They moved to the residential areas where everyone had to eat at home.

And, apparently, people need to be instructed — again — about proper trash disposal and management as well as city regulations.

“About midway through the pandemic shutdown, in mid 2021 or so, the Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners began to notice an alarming increase in the number and intensity of rat sightings in streets, alleyways and trash collection areas of Georgetown’s neighborhoods,” said ANC 2E Chairman Rick Murphy at a July 5 meeting.

“ANC 2E understands that the presence of rats and other rodents is inevitable in an urban environment,” Murphy said and wrote in a proposed resolution. “The ANC also has noted a discouraging lack of diligence with respect to the proper management of trash and other rodent food sources on the part of both businesses and residents in the ANC.  That includes leaving trash containers out on sidewalks and public spaces at times not designated for pickup.”

The ANC resolution encourages both businesses and residents to carefully comply with all regulations governing how trash and trash receptacles are to be handled, including leaving trash cans on public space only on at times and days designated for pick up (generally after 6:30 pm on the days before pickup, usually Tuesdays and Fridays).

Murphy reminded residents that pick-up areas were designated as space within the boundaries of the home’s foundation, not the sidewalk or curbside in front of the residence.

The resolution also reminded residents that “all solid waste must be placed in a container of a design and manufacture approved by the Mayor … in a manner that will not provide food, harborage, or breeding places for… rodents. ..” (Leaving solid waste in plastic bags on the curb or placing bags containing solid waste in public trash receptacles are violations of the regulations.)

Commissioners asked the Department of Public Works to emphasize enforcement of regulations concerning trash handling and container storage, including, where appropriate, the issuance of citations to both residents and businesses; as well as to increase the frequency of service of public trash receptacles, with particular emphasis on receptacles in the vicinity of establishments that sell food for take-out.

The ANC resolution also asked the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the Georgetown Business Association and Georgetown Main Street to emphasize to their members the importance of complying with all relevant regulations and properly managing trash and trash containers.

The unanimously passed resolution was sent to the Program Manager, Rodent and Vector Control Division, DC Health, as well as to DPW, GBA, GMS and the Georgetown BID.

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