Standing water raises mosquito concerns

Staff Writer

By Takesha Pettus

SOUTH RIVER — Fears of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have spread to the borough.

Borough resident Arthur Smith is concerned about stagnant water, where most mosquitoes hatch their eggs. Smith, who lives on Northern Street, said he is concerned that water in a nearby wooded area at the end of the street may be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Smith has had numerous water problems over the past few years.

Water lines on his street and others in the north end of town were recently permanently looped into the ground to eliminate sediment, low water pressure and other problems that residents had complained about.

However, Smith said when the lines were looped, the street level changed, causing puddles to form after heavy rains.

After being bitten by several mosquitoes and noticing the source of the problem, Smith contacted several officials, but no one seemed to be acting as if it is a serious matter, he said.

Borough Council President David Sliker said the borough is aware of the problem and has sent Public Works Director George Lyons to investigate.

According to Smith, representatives from the Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission have also been out to spray the area.

Smith said a county representative told him that the problem would likely persist with the muggy and wet weather conditions that the state had experienced over the past two weeks.

Sliker said the borough will continue to monitor the situation.

"At this point, it doesn’t seem to be a health issue," Sliker added.

Until then, Smith said he will continue to be cautious and keep requesting that something be done.

"It’s not only for me, it’s for everybody," Smith said

His concerns may be spurred by the discovery of a dead bird in neighboring Sayreville. The bird tested positive for the West Nile virus and county, state and borough officials have asked residents to take precautions.

Those precautions include eliminating standing water on property, cleaning clogged roof gutters, emptying plastic swimming pools, changing water in birdbaths and flushing sump pumps weekly.

In addition, residents should repair any holes in screens, stay indoors during dawn, dusk and early evening hours when mosquitoes are most active, and wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when outdoors.