ILWACO — Unwanted visitors are nibbling away at the patience of Ilwaco city staffers.
Rats have inhabited an inaccessible spot above the main office in Ilwaco City Hall since September 2018.
Though the animals are rarely seen, the Columbia riverfront is prime habitat for brown Norwegian rats, which 2016 scientific research found were inadvertently introduced to the Pacific Northwest by early Asian and European mariners.
Ilwaco City Council unanimously approved a $6,000 clean-up contract to take care of the rats, which are now dead, at a meeting on Nov. 5.
The dead rats can be smelled throughout the whole office once the heat is turned on, said City Clerk Stephanie Davis. The smell is causing health issues and an uncomfortable work environment for office staff.
A & A Pest Control established an eradication program with ongoing maintenance to prevent re-infestation but damage had already been done to the attic by the time the company came out.
Ilwaco City Hall has both an old and a new roof. The newer roof is built above the old one, resulting in a space between the ceiling and the old roof that’s too small for a person to get into. Because of this set-up, holes need to be cut to access the dead rats.
A & A Pest Control doesn’t do the type of clean-up Ilwaco City Hall needs. Another company, Alpha Environmental, will finish the eradication project. Alpha will replace the holes they cut and any contaminated insulation they find during the clean-up process.
The project is expected to cost $5,695 plus tax. The cost may be closer to $6,000 though, depending on if the building’s ceiling tests positive for asbestos or there is more destroyed insulation than expected.
Alpha Environmental may start working on the project as early as this upcoming Saturday, Davis said.
The city’s Real Estate Excise Tax fund will cover the funds for the eradication project, as the project can be considered a capital improvement.
Ilwaco City Council’s next meeting is 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the community building, next to the Ilwaco Timberland Regional Library branch.