- Albany, NY City Council voted in favor of an ordinance whereby residents must wrap up bed bug-infested trash, or property owners could be fined be fined up to $325 plus extermination costs. The intention, says the city, is to prevent sanitation workers' exposure to bug-infested furniture, bedding, and clothes—and prevent them from carrying bugs into their trucks. But property owners say it’s just a way for the city to make money while leaving them responsible for their tenants' violating actions, as reported in Times Union.
- The ordinance states all infested material—whether from bed bugs, rodents, or other insects considered a public health and safety threat—must be wrapped in a plastic bag or a hypoallergenic mattress cover, sealed with duct or box tape, and labeled as infested.
- The rule will be forwarded to Mayor Kathy Sheehan for signature.
The argument over whether property owners should pay for their tenants' improper dumping sparked fire. John Keenan, president of the Capital District Association of Rental Property Owners, called for a lawsuit to turn the rule around if the mayor passes it.
However Ward Council Michael O’Brien, one of the ordinance’s sponsors, argued that the decision is in line with a current rule where landlords are fined for improperly disposing raw meat, dead animals, and poorly wrapped broken glass. "I don't think it's a nanny-state law," O'Brien said, as reported in the Times Union.
Meanwhile the Department of General Services has noted that there is at least one serious trash infestation every week and the sanitation workers take the brunt of it.
Illegally dumped trash, especially upholstered furniture, mattresses and tires, can become breeding grounds overnight. Even if the trash is bug-free, bulky trash presents other safety hazards as was demonstrated at a Connecticut recycling facility.
"It's about protecting the workers and about protecting the public health, too," O'Brien said, as reported in the Times Union.