A plan to combat an infestation of cockroaches in a Joppatowne neighborhood seems to be working, said John Goheen, a spokesman for the state Department of the Environment.
The first step of that plan called for the owners of the Oak Avenue landfill, where the infestation began, to spray Dursban-50W over the landfill, as well as nearby houses where roaches had migrated.
"Early results have been extremely favorable," Goheen said. "The first spraying has eliminated a large percentage of the roaches still in the landfill."
Barry Schmidt, chief of the solid waste enforcement division at the state Department of the Environment, told a meeting of residents last week that a 10-to 12-foot band of clay underlying the landfill will help prevent the spray from leaching into water supplies. Monitoring wells will be installed to make certain no leaching has occurred, he said.
The plan also calls for the area of the landfill where the roaches were found to be covered with two feet of dirt, Goheen said. That should smother the bugs and their eggs.
In addition, a committee will meet monthly to make sure government agencies and members of the community are kept up to date on the progress of the plan.
The committee will include Schmidt; Thomas Thomas, health officer for Harford County; Joppatowne resident Helen Richick, who will serve as community coordinator; Rev. Michael Pigott, pastor of Towne Baptist Church; David Williams, president of the Joppa-Magnolia Civic Improvement Association; Frances Selbeck, president of the Joppatowne Civic Association; a representative of the landfill owner, Pappy's Inc. (formerly Stancill's Inc.); and a representative of the Home Exterminating Co., which was hired by Pappy's to conduct the spraying.
Edward Evans, an entomologist at Aberdeen Proving Ground, will also be invited to join the committee.
In mid-August, Pappy's Inc. learned that the cockroaches had infested the landfill.
The insects moved from the landfill into nearby homes when workers disturbed mounds of dirt where the roaches lived, Goheen said.
Pappy's Inc. hired the Home Exterminating Co. to eradicate the roaches.
As of Sept. 5, more than 200 homes had been inspected for the roaches, Pappy's Inc. co-owner Terry Stancill told a meeting of more than 100 people at the Towne Baptist Church in Joppatowne on Sept. 12.
So far, 26 of those homes have been sprayed and roach traps have been distributed to 89 homes, he said.
Thomas told residents that they can help get rid of the roaches by making sure garbage cans and water are covered and food is not left in the open for the bugs.
But, he said, residents should also be very careful about using their own pesticides, especially if they have young children or pets who may ingest the poisons.