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Raging rats could stop reservoir TNT plans

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The Department of Environmental Protection’s current plan to use dynamite at the Jerome Park Reservoir could release much more than soil and rock.

While the community continues to oppose the DEP’s plan to use dynamite to install a meter and flow station for the Croton Filtration Plant, recent news of rat infestation at the site could further justify their fears.

Upon hearing news of a block-by-block analysis conducted by the Department of Health to identify areas of high rodent activity throughout the borough, Community Board 7 district manager Fernando Tirado wondered how the Jerome Park Reservoir fared in comparison.

The results were staggering.

“As evident in the report, JPR has one of the highest concentrations and is the largest area of infestation in all of CB 7,” Tirado explained.

While the facts are no doubt disturbing to many area residents and rodent haters alike, the current underground invasion could soon create community chaos.

 “They’re obviously not going to hang around for the blasting,” Tirado commented about the swarms of rats that are currently congregating beneath the surface.

Though DEP’s original Environmental Impact Study stated the site would be dug by machine, they now claim blasting will have less of a negative environmental impact.

Tirado wonders if they considered all aspects of the alternative.

“The rats are going to go everywhere they feel safe,” he said, referencing the nearby parks, subways, restaurants and of course, any residential property that could provide food, shelter or both.

“There are a lot of private homes around the area and I’m pretty sure those people don’t want rat infestations in their homes,” he added.

While Tirado said he’s waiting to hear a response from DEP discussing this most recent concern, the topic has been added on the filtration plant’s next meeting agenda, which is anticipated to take place in the next couple of weeks.

“Before any further activity takes place at the reservoir, we need to recommend to DEP and DOH to look at the current infestation and undertake some major rodent control initiatives,” Tirado said. “Otherwise we will have hordes of rats infesting our homes, schools, parks and businesses.”

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