DC RATS: Mayor's rat abatement strategy aims to reduce city's rodent problem

Washington officials announced they're working to reduce the city's rodent problem.

"We're here to talk about rats," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower Thursday during a news conference in the Northwest.

Bower said the District's 311 requests for rodent problems increased by 65 percent from 2,300 in 2015 to more than 3,500 in 2016.

"We recognize this as a troubling public health concern for residents and businesses across the city," Bowser said.

The mayor said the city will focus on three abatement strategies aimed at improving rodent control.

'Solar Trash Cans' will compact waste and will be deployed to known rodent hot spots throughout the District, Bowser said. 'Smart Litter Bins' will notify city workers when the containers are full, allowing for more efficient trash pickup. 'Commercial Waste Compactors' will allow business owners to buy or lease rat-proof bulk containers, she added

The Mayor also announced the following ways residents can help with rat abatement:

- Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight-fitting lids;

- Place trash outside shortly before pickup, instead of days in advance;

- Remove weeds and debris near buildings and in yards where rats can easily hide;

- Store food that has been removed from its original packaging in metal, glass, or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight fitting lids,

- Remove uneaten pet food and store pet food in secure containers; and

- Report rodent issues in your neighborhood, by calling or texting 311.