Prevention of Mosquito Breeding at Sartomer’s West Chester Site

The Sartomer Company, which has a production facility at 610 S. Bolmar St., West Chester, Pennsylvania, informs us that:

“The Sartomer site in West Chester is diligent about controlling standing water that could potentially harbor mosquito larvae. Dikes containing storm water runoff at the site are drained daily to eliminate standing water. The site’s waste water treatment holding pond, which has standing water by design, is treated with biological agents to control the potential for mosquito breeding. These efforts are among many actions that the site takes in order maintain a safe workplace and to be a good member of the community.”

Don’t Spray Me! will welcome, and will gladly post, similar statements from other Chester County businesses.


Sartomer in its neighborhood, courtesy of Sartomer Co. (S. Bolmar St., at the bottom, E. Union St. at the right, Goose Creek at the back, then S. Adams and other streets).

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Human immunity to West Nile Virus

We’ve seen prior references to some or all people bitten by WNV-positive mosquitoes acquiring immunity to WNV (see, e.g., WEbMD and a California State site). Most WNV cases have unnoticed symptoms but as in the case of other viruses, one can assume the affected individual acquires immunity. Below is the most positive statement we have seen so far, from “Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus popping up across PA” by Jack Eble, Fox43 News, 7/5/18:

…there are no confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in people, statewide.

Dr. John Goldman, infectious disease specialist with UPMC-Pinnacle, said finding a positive case in a person can be hard to find.

“Most people who’ve had [West Nile Virus] aren’t aware of it. Once you’ve had it, you’re immune. You can’t get it again,” said Dr. Goldman.

He believes most people have become immune to West Nile Virus, slowing the spread of the illness.

In 2003, Pennsylvania had 236 people test positive for West Nile Virus.

But since then, the most confirmed cases was 60 in 2012….

This plastic isn’t just harming wildlife anymore

email from Environmental Action, 7/8/18 [We also need to point out that it’s not just about pollution, because discarded plastics can favor mosquito breeding. Plastic containers and bags in the street can hold rainwater; plastic that enters storm drains can clog the drains and cause standing water retention; and plastic in waterways can clog flow and produce stagnant surface areas.]

A World Health Organization (WHO) working group just announced that they have concluded that styrene, a foundational component of polystyrene foam, probably causes cancer. 1

In addition to this plastic foam polluting our rivers, lakes and oceans, and harming wildlife, it also risks human health.

If enough of us speak up, we can convince our leaders to ban harmful plastic foam. Add your name today.

From coffee cups to fast food containers, polystyrene foam — what most of us call Styrofoam — is used every day all across the country. And this plastic foam often ends up polluting our water, and risking our health and wildlife. 2

In early April, a young sperm whale washed up on a beach in Spain with 64 pounds of human-made trash in its digestive system. 3 In June, a pilot whale was found in a canal in Thailand, with 80 plastic bags and other plastic debris in its stomach, unable to swim or breathe. 4

It’s stories like these that make it clear, it’s time to act to reduce and rid our planet of plastic pollution.

One place we can start is to not use plastics that end up in our oceans in the first place. One of the worst forms of plastic pollution comes from plastic polystyrene foam. This foam never fully degrades — every single bit of polystyrene foam ever made is still out there. 5

We shouldn’t allow plastic foam to threaten our health, wildlife and the planet. The time to act is now. Add your name opposing plastic foam today.

Thank you for taking environmental action,

The Environmental Action team

1. Aarhus University, ” After 40 Years in Limbo: Styrene Is Probably Carcinogenic ,” ScienceDaily, May 30, 2018.
2. Jose G.B Derraik, ” The Pollution Of The Marine Environment By Plastic Debris: A Review ,” Marine Pollution Bulletin, September 2002.
3. Kristine Phillips, ” A Dead Sperm Whale Was Found With 64 Pounds Of Trash In Its Digestive System ,” The Washington Post, April 11, 2018.
4. Elaina Zachos, ” How This Whale Got Nearly 20 Pounds Of Plastic In Its Stomach ,” National Geographic, June 4, 2018.
5. ” Plastic Marine Debris ,” Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Marine Debris Program, September 2011.

“Adopt a Drain” in West Chester

by Rachel Davis, geologist and environmental professional

“Adopt a Drain” is a free, community-driven service program for West Chester Borough started in May 2018 by the Chester County Sierra Club-sponsored Don’t Spray Me! Group and is supported by West Chester Borough Council. Our goal is to educate citizens of all ages, but concentrating mostly on the youth, on how to maintain their local waterways by first caring about the direct avenues to those waterways: the storm water drains. Most people pass drains by without a thought — because drains are flush with the ground and easily overlooked. However, with enough time and education, one can truly begin to understand how important these vital pathways are to our community’s health and well-being.

The program is based on the nationwide concept called “Adopt a Drain” as featured from Nashville to Burlington to St. Louis. Cities throughout the United States are making it viable and accessible to citizens to perform voluntary drain cleaning activities by incorporating debris collection and notation with computer-based mapping software. When the hands-on aspect joins with the technological, a comprehensive city- or town-wide view of the drain quality can be constructed.

The West Chester Borough “Adopt a Drain” program has thus far completed two two-hour events in which we worked as a team to find, observe, take notes on and then clean the surficial area around the storm drains in the borough in Ward 3. We are working to complete this same activity per ward per section until all 1000+ drains are completed within the Borough by the end of the summer 2018. At each drain, we note if there is organic debris (leaves, sticks, etc.), plastic debris/trash (bags, straws, cups, lids, etc.) and/or standing water in and/or around the drain. By combining the physical removal of waste from the drains and the observing of the standing water inside the drains, we hope to identify which drains need attention from the borough to be cleaned further, fixed, dredged, or larvicided.

By the end of summer 2018, “Adopt a Drain” plans to present our data to the West Chester Borough Council and Public Works Department with the help of a West Chester University Graduate Student concentrating in Geographical Information Systems. Additionally, we hope to address the problem of mosquito larvae in the standing water within the drains and share a detailed view of trash in the borough’s drains too. Given the success of the program thus far, we hope that our observations continue to educate citizens for years to come and that the program is embedded in West Chester’s sustainable culture.

The program is open and available to all ages and but is prepared if the participant is less than age 12 that there be a parent or guardian there to support the event. If you are interested in joining in our events, please email me. Meetings at 1 pm on Sundays are confirmed through an email blast. We hope to see you there!

Mother Earth, Symbol of Sustainability

Today’s inspiration: metal sculpture entitled Mother Earth, Symbol of Sustainability, on the Georgetown DC waterfront on the Potomac River.

What does Don’t Spray Me! have to do with sustainability?

1) We wish to control mosquitoes by natural means, best of all by denying them to option of breeding in our properties and communities.

2) When urban water runoff is dealt with sustainably, water sinks into permeable areas naturally, neither producing long-lasting pools nor overburdening streams.

3) By cutting down on the use of pesticides and herbicides, we help maintain the balance of species, threatened by our society’s rush into monocultures and chemical dependency.

4) We promote crops grown by earth-friendly methods, as opposed to the brutal (for people and the environment) methods of “big ag.”

More: add your own!