Bigger, Faster Rat Rubout Crew Takes to the Alleys

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BALTIMORE, MD — Baltimore City Department of Public Works Director Rudy S. Chow, P.E., announced the agency’s Rat Rubout crew has reached its full complement of 16 technicians, and will today begin its plan to inspect and treat every alley on a 20-day cycle.

The 20-day cycle is designed to interrupt the three-week gestation period of Norway rats, which have become a nuisance in and around the City. The Rat Rubout program had previously operated with a staff of eight technicians and completed a cycle of the City every 40 days.

Getting the additional technicians hired, trained, and certified has been a goal of Director Chow and the Bureau of Solid Waste. The idea is to make the battle against vermin more proactive and coordinated, and less reactive to citizen complaints.

“We need to be smarter in how we work to eliminate rats in Baltimore,” said Director Chow. “But everyone needs to contribute to the solution by keeping their property clean.”

The Bureau has also taken up other initiatives – including alley sweeping and issuing standard, durable municipal trash cans – to cut down on illegal dumping and litter in neighborhoods. Loose trash, especially residential trash that contains food waste, is a major contributor to the rat problem in urban environments – including Baltimore.

The Rat Rubout technicians will drive into one police district at a time, with each one responsible for checking the alleys on their route. They have been trained to look for rat burrows in the alleys, and how to carefully bait for the rats.
Alleys and burrows will be marked after being treated. Private property will be treated upon the owner’s consent, though Rat Rubout technicians will not go inside a building to treat for rats.

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Tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 20, limited Solid Waste crews will be out addressing missed pickups from this week, if weather and road conditions permit. However, the ability to complete the routes will depend on whether the snow and ice have thawed enough for the alleys to be accessible.