Inspectors have hard time checking pools


Hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes can breed in an abandoned pool only a few feet deep. County inspectors are finding an increasing number of residents are refusing to answer their knock at the door.

This is the fifth time an inspector from Contra Costa Vector Control has visited an Antioch home, trying to get a look at a pool the county believes is producing dangerous mosquitoes, like these.

"We had a scheduled appointment and they no-showed on their appointment. So, this is one that's becoming a problem. And I'd say no one's home," said Bob Douglas, a county pool inspector.

Getting access to potentially contaminated pools is becoming an increasing problem for inspectors like Bob Douglas.

"I've had a gentleman talk to me about privacy act and the right to their privacy in their own backyards, things like this. I had another gentleman argue with me that it is his right to have a green pool and he's totally right. He can have a green pool. He can have anything he wants in that swimming pool, except breeding mosquitoes," said Douglas.

Controlling abandoned and neglected pools in Contra Costa County is critical in the fight to contain mosquitoes, prime transmitters of West Nile Virus.

"So this is a breeding pool, even though it has this little [puddle of] water in it," said Douglas.

Mosquitoes can breed in just two inches of water. So even a drained pool, can produce tens of thousands of mosquitoes, that can travel miles from their initial breeding site.

"We are about to move, so my father just decided to empty the pool out, but I guess there's something inside," said Daniela Espinosa, an Antioch resident.

In Contra Costa County, 15 dead birds, one squirrel and five groups of mosquitoes all tested positive for West Nile Virus in just the past week. Besides treating infected pools, the district will fog in three high-risk neighborhoods in Antioch and Brentwood.

"The product we're going to be using is called Pyrenone 25-5. It's a botanical pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It's registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and there's nothing people need to do because we're fogging," said Deborah Bass, from Contra Costa Vector Control. Folks should know that the county does have the power to impose fines of up to $1,000 a day on residents and homeowners who neglect their pools.

The fogging will go from dusk until midnight on Wednesday night, in two areas in Antioch and one in Brentwood.

The first area to be treated in Antioch lies between Ridgerock and Boulder drives to the north, Rocky Point and Eagleridge drives to the east and Lone Tree Drive to the southwest.

The second area is bordered by Gentrytown Drive to the west, Morton and South Francisco ways and Gatter Drive to the north, G Street to the east and Contra Loma Regional Park and the Contra Costa Canal to the south.

In Brentwood, the district plans to fog in an area bordered by Sand Creek Parkway to the north, Brentwood city limits to the east, Second and Oak streets to the south and state Highway 4 to the west.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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