West Nile spraying angers residents

August 27, 2008 2:19:30 PM PDT
Aerial spraying to protect against the West Nile virus began in parts of our area Tuesday night.The decision has sparked concerns and even outrage among some residents.

The mosquitoes of Radnor Township have won a temporary stay of execution.

That follows an uproar over plans for an aerial attack on very short notice.

Radnor Township and Norristown are ground zero in the fight against the deadly West Nile virus.

It's carried by mosquitoes and recent surveys show an alarming threefold increase in infected mosquitoes.

The State Department of Environmental Protection sent out word yesterday that aerial spraying would begin in Radnor Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. and then move on to other parts of Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties.

Radnor Township Commissioner Thomas Masterson says his constituents deserve plenty of advance notice, because of health warnings about the insecticide being used.

"If the spraying, in their opinion, needs to be done and needs to be done now, then we should have been given the opportunity and the information to notify the public," Radnor Township Commissioner Thomas Masterson said.

The DEP has been using trucks to spray on the ground.

They say the more effective aerial spraying was scheduled on short notice because the planes became available during a favorable weather window.

"We are sorry that people didn't get more than 24 hours notice, but we feel since it isn't starting until dark, that they can take precautions with the briefing they had today," Deborah Fires of the DEP said.

The literature on the chemical being used warns pregnant women and children to stay indoors, close windows and doors and turn off the air conditioning.

It suggests picking food from gardens before the spraying, and to cover outdoor tables and play equipment.

Even so, Montgomery County's health director says the spray isn't much of a health threat,

"We've been telling residents to stay indoors if they can; it's not necessary, but we would like them to," Dr. Joeseph DeMino said.

Marina Bater will be keeping her daughter indoors.

"I kind of feel victimized because I have no choice of this happening and as a mother I'm really concerned," Marina Bater said.

Radnor gets a one day reprieve to notify its residents, but the spraying started Tuesday night in other parts of Delware, Montgomery and Bucks counties and parts of Philadlephia. It then moves on to Radnor and parts of lower Bucks and Philadelphia Wednesday night

The DEP says it will report all spraying activities. For more information:

Visit the DEP website.

Call: 484-250-5824

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