Ottawa Hills debates spraying for mosquitoes

Ottawa Hills has established a task force to see if spraying for mosquitoes does more harm than good

OTTAWA HILLS, Ohio -- After several people in Ottawa Hills raised health concerns about the spray used to control the mosquito population, the village established a task force this past spring to look further into the issue.

â??Itâ??s clear that there are chemicals that are used that are harmful at some level to humans,â?? says Katherine Oâ??Connell, chair of the Ottawa Hills Mosquito Task Force. â??If you were to ingest or somehow be exposed to them (the chemicals) in extreme numbers, I think itâ??s safe to say it could be harmful to humans. Weâ??re also looking at the effects on the environment,â?? Oâ??Connell continued.

The Toledo Area Sanitary District (TASD) has been spraying in Ottawa Hills since the 1940s. On the agencyâ??s website, it says: â??All of the products utilized by the TASD have been registered and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency.â??

The Mosquito Task Force is trying to find a balance between residentsâ?? concerns about the chemicals used in the spray that kills adult mosquitoes while also finding ways to keep the mosquito population under control. Oâ??Connell says the mosquito population in the village is often on the high side, with the Ottawa River providing an ample breeding ground. The issue has taken on more significance after some mosquitoes from Ottawa Hills recently tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Based on the high numbers of the biting pests, mother of three Evie Gray says the spraying should continue.

â??I understand peopleâ??s concerns, but the kids love to be outside, especially in the evening hours, when itâ??s cooler. So Iâ??m ok with the spraying. I think itâ??s a good idea,â?? Gray told NBC 24.

Oâ??Connell says the task force has held a couple of hearings, getting feedback from residents and from the TASD. Based on the information the task force has gathered, Oâ??Connell also believes spraying should continue, but says there should be better communication with residents.

â??More advanced notice of when theyâ??re going to spray so that citizens can close their windows, and know to be indoors if they have any concerns about spraying.â??

Oâ??Connell and the rest of the Ottawa Hills Mosquito Task Force are scheduled to meet in the middle of September. At that time, theyâ??ll make a recommendation whether to keep, alter or disband the mosquito spraying program. That recommendation will be passed along to the Ottawa Hills Village Council, which has the ultimate say on the issue.