City Council Votes for Aerial Spraying in Duncanville

Filed under: City |

The Duncanville City Council met in an emergency meeting to discuss and consider taking action about mosquitoes, the West Nile Virus, and what action to take in the best interest of the community.

Originally, the council was to discuss this item in the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening, but due to a Tuesday 2PM deadline imposed by Dallas County for the City to make a decision on aerial spraying, the council had to discuss their options in the emergency meeting.

About a dozen citizens were in attendance, and several took the opportunity to express their opinions about aerial spraying, and all that spoke were in favor of following the actions of the City of Dallas, and the recommendations of the State of Texas Health Department, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Local Association of Medical Doctors to conduct aerial spraying in Duncanville.

Mayor Deborah Hodge
Mayor Pro Tem Johnette Jameson – absent
Councilmember Don Freeman
Councilmember Dr. Stephen Jones
Councilmember Leslie Thomas
Councilmember Janet Harris – absent
Councilmember Mark Cooks

Duncanville City Council
Emergency Meeting Agenda
Emergency Meeting – 6PM
Council Chambers, City Hall
203 E. Wheatland Road

An emergency meeting called to discuss and take possible action on issues in which an imminent threat to public health and safety exist, as well as discuss and take action on issues which were reasonably unforeseeable.

Revised Agenda

  1. Citizens public comment period.
  2. Discuss and take possible action on mosquito spraying options for the City of Duncanville including ground and aerial spraying.

The speakers expressed their concerns about the ineffectiveness of ground spraying with trucks, the fact that some aren’t taking the preventative action of getting rid of standing water, that ten deaths due to the West Nile Virus have been registered in Dallas County, with one on Duncanville.

Others pointed out that Sacremento, California sprays 3-4 times a year, every year, and no reports of adverse effects among the citizens.

City Manager Dan O’Leary explained that originally Duncanville was not offered the opportunity to receive aerial spraying, due to the spraying  was only being offered to those cities north of I-30. “Eighty percent of all positive traps, and reported human cases were north of I-30,” said O’Leary.

O’Leary went on to explain that this past Thursday, aerial spraying was opened to all cities in Dallas County, but they wanted a decision that day. The administration of those cities pushed back and asked for a deadline of Wednesday, August 22. This past Friday the city received  notice that a decision was needed by 5pm, on that day. The city decided to decline due to the fact that the council could not meet in time to discuss aerial spraying. The county then changed the deadline to 2:30PM on Tuesday, so on Saturday the council scheduled the emergency meeting for Monday evening. There is still some confusion on the exact deadline, but the city is going on the assumption that the deadline is Tuesday.

The city manager then laid out the timeline for events in Duncanville:

  • 7/2 – A positive trap was found on Jewel Street
  • 7/16 – The trap on Jewel Street again tested positive
  • 7/26 – Human case was confirmed on Softwood
  • 7/30 – Jewel Street trap again tested positive
  • 7/30 – Greenstone Lane trap tested positive
  • 8/6 – Greenstone tested positive again
  • 8/8 – Duncanville’s first death due to West Nile since 2009 was confirmed
  • 8/8 – Confirmed human case on Golden Meadow
  • 8/9 – Thrush Ave trap tested positive
  • 8/13 – Human case confirmed on Green Valley
  • 8/16 – Human case confirmed on Greenstone Ct.

The Council was considering three options:

  • Option 1 – Dallas County Health Department recommendation of three consecutive days of truck spraying.
  • Option 2 – Aerial spraying as recommended by the state, CDC, and Association of Medical Doctors.
  • Option 3 – Continue the current practice of truck spraying the areas around positive test traps and confirmed positive human cases.

Duncanville Health Officer Mike Plemons explained that with the number of positive traps and confirmed human cases makes Duncanville the hotspot south of I-30. He went on to explain that two of the human cases were neuroinvasive strains of West Nile.

He went on to explain that DeSoto and Cedar Hill had opted for three days of ground spraying instead of aerial spraying. Plemons went on to explain that studies have shown that the county’s current method of aerial spraying was safer than truck spraying due to the smaller amount of pesticide being used in aerial sprays. Aerial spraying is equal to 8/10 of an ounce per acre of land.

Cooks asked if it was recommended that the council look at the current plan and align it with the county plan. Plemons stated that the council might want to look into that.

Hodge asked if the outbreak was the largest for Duncanville, or the county. Plemons explained that 60% of all the cases in the United States are reported in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Hodge went on to ask Plemons if he recommended spraying. Pleamons stated that he originally said no due to truck spraying only killing 20% of mosquitoes, and that aerial spraying was more effective, with an 80% kill rate. In addition, he explained that the spraying wasn’t going to cost the city since grant money was going to pay for it. He went on to say that aerial or truck was up to the council, but when pressed he stated that he would recommend aerial spraying.

Plemons went on to explain that August is the heaviest month for confirmed human cases. That while the traps are seeing less mosquitoes, and less positive traps, that the human cases could continue to climb.

Thomas stated that history shows the traps would be at zero in 2-3 weeks. Plemons did explain that human cases have been known to show up in October, and that some mosquitoes could survive a mild winter and continue infecting people.  He went to explain that Sacremento, California did in fact spray several times a year, with no adverse human effects, and no bee hives being affected. As far as aquatic life, once the chemical hits the water it dilutes and does not damage the fish.

Thomas questioned that if we begin spraying, would the mosquitoes become resistant, requiring more powerful pesticides? Plemons explained that if the pesticides were used according to directions, the likelihood of the mosquitoes becoming resistant was negligible.

Jones motioned to proceed with option 2 (aerial spraying), and Freeman seconded the motion.

Cooks asked if any city was doing a combination of truck and aerial spraying and O’Leary stated that there was none that he was aware of.

Freeman stated that he had performed an informal poll of 87 people, and only 18 were against spraying or wanted ground spraying.

The council voted 4-1 (Thomas voting against) to ask to county to do aerial spraying over Duncanville.

After the meeting, O’Leary stated that he would be contacting Dallas County to make them aware of the decision of the council. He also stated that when the spraying was scheduled the city would be issuing press releases, placing notices on the city website, and using Code Red to notify the citizens of Duncanville.

One Response to City Council Votes for Aerial Spraying in Duncanville

  1. Perhaps if Duncanville would have taken me seriously and the unusual number of dead birds found in my yard; perhaps Duncanville would have been offered the first aerial spraying.?? Waiting for other cities or communities to discover a problem before we are willing to investigate the possibility of owning a problem within ourselves is of a prehistoric mind-set.
    I’m sad to say that my conclusion at this moment is that Duncanville has made it’s comfort zone in being a follower of other communities.
    Not exactly the position I recall our city taking when Duncanville was a great place to live.

    Just an opinion.

    Vivian McDonald
    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 8:26 am