UNION, NJ – A social media posting on a Union residents’ site has initiated action by the township regarding a rodent problem in the Putnam Manor section of town.

“It came to our attention through social media that some residents in the Putnam Manor area have said they are having an issue with rats in their yards,” said Tammie Kopin-Espinoza, assistant business administrator.   “I can assure you that the Township Committee takes quality of life issues very seriously.”

Marconi Gapas, Health Department officer, said two complaints were previously received by the Health Department, one in June and one in July.  “The areas of concern identified in those complaints were assessed and public areas such as stream beds, retention basins and storm sewers were treated by a licensed exterminator.  These areas will be re-evaluated and treated as warranted.”

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Gapas, in a letter being delivered today to residents in the area, said, “aside from the complaints in June and July, we have been unaware that this is a growing issue for you and your neighbors.”

Gapas’ letter says, “at the time of the previous complaints, the township was able to have an exterminator treat the public spaces around the problem areas to help control the pest problem but unfortunately we are not allowed to treat private property.”

The letter goes on to say that in the coming days, the Township’s Health Officials will be assessing the area to identify treatable areas.  “However, controlling this issue involves everyone’s cooperation.”  The following tips are provided in Gapas’ letter:

  1. Clean up your yard, alley and driveway of all trash.
  2. Place all garbage in metal containers or rodent-proof cans with tight-fitting lids.
  3. Keep lids on trash cans at all times including outside for pick up.
  4. Eliminate possible shelters under porches, decks, outside stairs and in and under sheds.
  5. Pile all wood or other material stored outside into closely packed units or stacks; these should be at least 6-12 inches off the ground.
  6. A compost bin or pile should also be rat proof.  Leaves and garden accumulations should be put into this compost bin—no food stuffs should be placed outside in the compost bin.
  7. Sufficient trash cans should be used to prevent overloading and spilling of garbage and refuse.
  8. Do not feed birds in an uncontrolled manner, cats or any other wild animals (e.g. throwing pieces of bread, crackers, bird seed, or table scraps onto the ground).
  9. House pets such as dogs or cats should not be fed outside; if so food should be removed immediately after eating.
  10. Eliminate any standing water outside including: bird baths, water for pets, kiddy pools, etc.

“If this continues to be a problem, or should this issue escalate, please use the “Report a Concern” feature on our website www.uniontownship.com or contact the Township of Union Health Department at 908-851-8507,” continues Gapas’ letter.  “Please keep in mind that these are the only official modes of communication with the Township and the only certain way to ensure your concerns are addressed in a timely manner.”