• 91°

Aldermen to consider updating mosquito control amendment

To help control mosquitoes in Oxford and in an attempt to prevent mosquito-born illnesses, the Oxford Board of Aldermen are considering updating ordinances to strengthen the requirements for storm water detention and retention ponds and structures.

Emergency Management Coordinator and Health Officer Jimmy Allgood presented the recommended amendments to the ordinance at the aldermen’s regular meeting Tuesday.

The added verbiage would require all storm water detention structures that retain water for 48 hours or more, to be registered with the city. The person responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the structure will submit an aerial map, GPS location, owner’s name and 24-hour contact information.

For each structure, a mosquito control treatment plan also will be submitted. The plan should include the type of larvicide being used from March through November. Treatment is not required December through February.

All substances used in the treatments of the structures will be approved by Allgood before being used. Documentation of each treatment must be provided by the owner.

Periodic spot inspections will be completed for the presence of mosquito larva. If larva is detected, the health officer will contact the owner, who must retreat the structure within three days. A follow-up inspection will be done.

Structures and ponds that are continuously aerated to ensure water movement are exempt from the application of larvicide.

Being taken out of the city’s existing ordinance is a requirement to cover the surface of the water with kerosene, petroleum or paraffin oil every seven days.

“We’re trying to break the life cycle,” Allgood said. “The best way is to use a bacterial insecticide … It doesn’t affect anything else and is naturally found in dirt. But it was discovered to kill the larva. It’s safe and the most economical method, costing $400 to $1,000 a year, depending on the size of the structure.”

The goal is to reduce the risk of mosquito-born illnesses, such as the West Nile and Zika viruses. While there’s been two cases in Mississippi of the Zika virus, and 312 nationwide, none of the cases were contracted in the United States.

“They contracted it out of the country and then brought it here,” Allgood said.

There were no West Nile Virus cases reported in 2015 in Mississippi.

The updated mosquito ordinance is an effort to keep it that way, Allgood said.

The ordinance amendment will have a second hearing and possible vote at the next aldermen meeting at 5 p.m. April 19 at City Hall.