Melting Snow Reveals a Messy Chicago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The spring thaw is uncovering a lot of nasty surprises around Chicago. Nesita Kwan reports. (Published Thursday, Mar 13, 2014)

    While most people are happy to see the snow melting, there's definitely an ugly side -- the filth underneath.

    Garbage pickup was disrupted several times over the winter, and city officials say what didn't get picked up or handled over the last few months, is the residents' responsibility.

    But aside from the black, dirty grime, a bigger problem may be rats. Ald. Bob Fioretti says an average female among breed-happy vermin has up to 300 babies a year in a 3-year life cycle, and Chicago is a great place to be a rat right now.

    "The rat population is out running and seeking food," Fioretti said.

    Fioretti says rodents are chewing through garbage containers to get to the garbage, which is why he's proposing a new way to fight them -- a liquid called Contrapest that sterilizes both males and females. He says it's been successful in reducing the rat problem in New York City.

    An even bigger revelation with the melting snow is dog feces. Many people didn't bother to pick up after their animals during the long, cold winter.

    "What's coming to the surface now is a bunch of debris from both humans and dogs," Pamela Focia said.

    Planet Magazine ranks Chicago fourth in the world for the number of rats. The city is using a new predictive analytics system, which allows workers to proactively trap and bait in certain areas.