Inquirer: House is vacant but mosquito-breeding pool sure isn't

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 11, 2013 

MIKE OWEN/mowen@ledger-enquirer.comBehind this ugly, overgrown house is an even uglier and dangerous in-ground swimming pool that sits uncovered and brimming with coal-black water, our Concerned Reader reports. It's your classic mosquito farm that could also double as a haven for snakes and other varmints.

MIKE OWEN — mowen@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

We're back in the land of dangerous, possibly even deadly and not to mention ugly swimming pools this week.

A Concerned Reader called to report a house on Lichfield Road that's been vacant for more than a year. The front yard has tall weeds, some of them taller than I am (thinner, too) and weedy vines that are threatening to cover up the first-floor windows.

She said a neighbor has cut the yard a few times, but that's not a viable permanent solution.

She said one of the neighbors must have called the city because there's a notice on the front door, but nothing's been done about the yard so far.

And besides, the yard's not the worst problem. Tall weeds never killed anyone, outside of a Stephen King novel.

What could kill you would come from the backyard, where an in-ground swimming pool sits uncovered and brimming with coal-black water, our Concerned Reader reports. It's your classic mosquito farm that could also double as a haven for snakes and other varmints.

As we have reported here in the past, mosquitoes are more than a nuisance.

More than 37,000 people in the U.S. have contracted West Nile Virus disease since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 16,000 of those became seriously ill from it and more than 1,500 have died.

Just last year, 99 people in Georgia contracted West Nile and six died. In Alabama, 62 cases and two deaths were reported.

Because stagnant water breeds mosquitoes, which can carry the virus, it is against the law to allow it to stand on your property, whether it's an abandoned pool, old discarded tires, buckets, wheelbarrows or anything that will catch and hold water and allow the mosquito larvae to develop in it.

Again, our Concerned Reader thinks someone has contacted the city, but she's not sure whether it was just for the front yard. Being a Devoted Reader, too, she's aware that city ordinances don't cover overgrown backyards.

No, they don't, but they do cover pools that become mosquito breeding grounds.

I'll call Special Enforcement and see if indeed the city has been notified about the yard and make sure they know about the pool, too.

Stay tuned.

Update

You will certainly recall that we recently reported a badly overgrown sidewalk on Primrose Road near Gentian Elementary School. It wasn't long before I rode by and saw a prison crew weed-whacking away at the mess, so I figured the problem was taken care of.

Well, not quite.

A few days later I noticed that while a large section of the problem had been solved, the work halted abruptly at one point. Maybe they ran out of daylight or out of weedwhacker gas.

Maybe the International Brotherhood of Inmates, Local 243, called a wildcat strike. Who knows?

We'll know soon and then you'll know.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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