The New York City Department of Buildings is warning property owners and contractors that outdoor structures that retain standing water may attract mosquitoes and act as breeding grounds for the insects, which may carry diseases such as the Zika, West Nile, and St. Louis encephalitis viruses. Property owners and construction contractors are required to take measures to minimize standing water on their sites to help reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes.
Homeowners should check their property to eliminate common mosquito breeding grounds. It is important to keep in mind that water can collect in unused flower pots, buckets, cups and discarded tires, which provide an ideal habitat for mosquitoes.
Here are some steps homeowners can take to reduce standing water:
— Pick up trash, such as styrofoam containers, that can collect water
— Clear clogged rain gutters
— Cover bins, wading pools, and other items that can hold standing water for extended periods of time;
— Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes regularly.
Contractors are encouraged to ensure that dewatering plans for construction sites are strictly followed. Sites must be routinely checked for stagnant or standing water, and, when necessary treated with the appropriate insecticide if elimination of water is not feasible. Accumulated water throughout a site should be removed promptly when possible. Contractors should be mindful of water that can collect in excavated areas, pipes, tarps, and barrels. The Department suggests consulting a professional to advise how to address potential mosquito breeding grounds in and around construction sites.
New Yorkers are encouraged to call 311 to report unsafe conditions, or 911 to report emergencies at construction sites or buildings.