Archived Story

County looking into roach problem

Published 10:23am Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Apartment reported infestation

Mower County is stepping in to help eradicate a cockroach infestation at 24248 534th Ave. in rural Austin.

Residents at an apartment building in rural Austin went to Environmental Services Director Angie Knish and Community Health Director Lisa Kocer in April for help with a cockroach infestation.

On Tuesday, the county board unanimously approved a plan for Kocer and Knish to further investigate the issue before reporting back to the board.

“It’s a public health nuisance,” Kocer said.

The landlord told the tenants it’s their responsibility to address the issue, but Knish said the entire building needs to be sprayed at one time, as individual tenants or the landlord spraying as people moved out would be a piecemeal approach.

Under state statute, county officials said it’s property owners’ responsibility, and if the county takes steps to abate the issue, costs will be accessed back to the property owner.

There has been some contact with the landlord, but county officials have no proof of action.

Under statute, the board of health has the authority to abate a health threat at the expense of a property owner.

At the same time, Kocer and county officials said it’s also the tenants responsibility to work to fix the issue and ensure a clean living environment.

Cockroaches, which are nocturnal, are known to spread diseases like salmonella end E. coli, which can result in food poisoning or diarrhea, and infestations can also irritate asthma and allergies, especially in children, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

Tuesday’s discussions only addressed cockroaches at one property.

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