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NYCHA’s rat problem to be combated by new city tactics, de Blasio says

The dirt-bed basements of 10 NYCHA developments will be replaced with cement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan of attack to combat NYCHA's rat issues, including chute-friendly garbage bins for residents, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

Mayor Bill de Blasio drew a line in the sand — or rather the burrow — Tuesday and declared war on the vermin lurking in NYCHA properties.

He and public housing officials unveiled the latest component of the city’s $32 million campaign to reduce rat populations in the 10 developments across the city with the most complaints. Maintenance workers will use a variety of tactics, including a new dry ice extermination procedure, to kill the rodents. Building administrators will also retrofit their properties to prevent the pests from mustering.

“We want to make sure the greatest city in the world is the worst city for rats,” the mayor said.

The NYCHA properties involved in the program include Hylan Houses and Bushwick Houses in Bushwick; Webster Houses in Claremont Village; Marcy Houses in Bedford Stuyvesant; Butler Houses; Morris Houses I and II in Claremont, Riis Houses I and II in the Lower East Side; and Morrisania Houses.

The city recently received approval to use the dry ice trap. Maintenance crews will plug burrow holes with the frozen substance, which effectively suffocates the rats underground.

The roughly 23,000 residents who live in those buildings will receive new trash bins that prevent chutes from clogging.

De Blasio said the biggest change coming to those apartments would be cement flooring for basements. Many are currently just dirtbeds.

“It’s like a penthouse apartment for rats,” he said.

The mayor said officials will be observing the campaign at the targeted buildings and, if successful, implementing them at more locations across the city.

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