Legislator Bosworth's New Law Updates Mosquito Spraying Notification
Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) recently sponsored changes to the local law dealing with mosquito spraying notification. The new legislation addresses concerns that came to light last September, when the county sprayed aerial pesticides over select areas for the first time in nine years. This was necessitated after more than a dozen people in the county became ill with West Nile virus, resulting in four deaths. At that time, constituents were troubled about the environmental and health ramifications of spraying itself, as well as procedures dealing with notifying residents of spraying and the cancellation and rescheduling of spraying.
In response, the Nassau County Legislature amended the law to require the Health Department to provide 24 hours’ notice to legislators and major news outlets, notice on the Health Department website, and 24 hours’ notice for any rescheduled spraying. The law also requires the establishment of a Mosquito Spraying Hotline. Legislative offices will now be notified as soon as the County Health Department requests that the state declare a public health threat to allow them time to prepare to help with constituent notification.
“The goal is to work together to obviate the need to spray. If there is a need to spray, every effort will be made to ensure that isolated targeted areas are treated with truck spraying as opposed to aerial spraying,” Legislator Bosworth said. “If aerial or truck spraying is necessary to ensure the safety of Nassau County residents, legislators will now receive advance notification, allowing us to be prepared adequately to address constituent concerns. The Health Department also will post data on their website about the pesticide being applied so residents will have access to the same information given to the county employees who actually apply the pesticide.”
Legislator Bosworth added that the law was a result of numerous meetings with Mr. Ray Ribeiro, Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, Commissioner of the Department of Health, their staff and members of interested civic and environmental groups. She emphasized that the amendments, in large part, codified what was done last year by the county when a public health threat was declared and limited aerial spraying was necessary.
Legislator Bosworth encourages everyone in the county to work together to ensure that mosquitoes are not given the opportunity to proliferate. Mosquitoes can breed in stagnant standing water that sits for more than a few days. Therefore, she urges all residents to survey their property after rainfall and to:
• Remove or empty standing water from children’s outdoor toys, flower pots, garbage cans, pails, old tires, or any object that can hold water.
• Make sure roof gutters drain properly; clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Keep swimming pools chlorinated and their covers free of stagnant water.
• Change the water in birdbaths every two or three days.
• Install window and door screens and keep them in good repair.
• Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, socks and mosquito repellent (according to directions) when outdoors when mosquitoes are active, especially in the late afternoon and from dusk to dawn.
For mosquito problems, stagnant water or a drainage problem, residents can call the Nassau County Department of Public Works at: (516) 572-1166, weekdays from 7:45 am to 3:30 pm.
For information concerning West Nile Virus activity, phone the Health Department Information Line at (516) 227-9700.
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck), middle, met with Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Maria Torroella Carney and Bryan Matthews from the Health Department who demonstrated how the mosquito traps are set.