Friday, October 20, 2000
West Nile not a threat, BOH Dr. says
Board of health physician Dr. Claudia Talland, who describes herself as a statistical physician, explained to the board that she does not consider the West Nile virus a threat to people in Carlisle. Although two infected dead crows have been discovered in town, Talland explained, there have been no known cases of West Nile disease in humans in the entire state, much less any fatalities. If comprehensive spraying or other remedial action were taken, there would be no way to measure its effectiveness since the incidence of the disease is already zero. "From a public health perspective, this [West Nile virus] is a nonentity," said Talland. The West Nile virus is similar to the equine encephalitis virus which has been present in this region since 1930 with only 80 cases reported in the state in all that time. Talland noted that we have lived peacefully for more than six decades with the equine virus without any comprehensive spraying measures, and the equine is more deadly.
Lowell Street resident John Lee, who runs Allandale farm in Boston, explained why the West Nile virus is more of an urban problem. The disease is known to be carried by the culex mosquito which is not the bug which ravages us here in the woods of Carlisle. Culex mosquitos breed in water with no turbulence, such as a catch basin, a plugged gutter or an abandoned tire. The mosquito will not breed well in a vernal pool because the salamanders eat it. Lee described spending three weeks trapping birds and insects on his farm with a Center for Disease Control (CDC) agent. They found none that were carrying the West Nile Virus. "Carlisle is more like a farm than Brookline," commented Lee.
In discussing possible actions, the board pointed out that they cannot impose larvacide use in all backyards in town; it must be voluntary. Board members then voted for a Warrant article for Carlisle to join the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project, a state program whose goal is to reduce mosquito exposure and prevent transmission of diseases. However, the board felt that the article might be pulled after studying more information.
· A public hearing was held for a waiver of the distance from a tank to a well at 80 Wildwood Lane for the repair of a septic system. Although Title 5 guidelines are met, the distance of 81 feet falls short of Carlisle's rule of 100 feet. The waiver was granted.
· A public hearing was held for a waiver of the distance from a tank to a wetland border on 3 Forest Park Drive for repair of a septic system. The conservation commission had already approved the plan for an 80-foot distance from the tank to the wetland border, short of the 100 feet required by Carlisle. The waiver was granted.
· There was a public hearing for waivers to regulations for a septic system repair on 127 Sunset Road. The board granted waivers after the design was changed from a single- to two-compartment septic tank placed 61 feet from the wetland border. The board also required the owner to file a deed restriction prohibiting installation of a kitchen garbage grinder.
· The board was concerned that no toxic waste remediation work had been done on the property at 106 Concord Street since the order of conditions was issued July 12. The board voted to send a letter to Pine and Swallow asking them to explain their progress at the October 24 meeting.
· The cleanup on the Daisys' property is moving along well. It was noted that some of the material which was under the roadway and underneath the building will not be removed. The expected cost is $130,000 and it is expected that the state will pay and then put a lien on the Daisy property since the Daisys are claiming hardship in this matter.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito