“When I read how many thousands of dollars a city like New York has to spend to keep underground water pipes free of ailanthus, gingko, and sycamore roots, I cannot help but give a little cheer. After all, water pipes are almost always an excellent source of water. In a town where resourcefulness and beating the system are highly prized, these primitive trees can fight city hall and win.” - Annie Dillard
This quote is from the amazing 1972 memoir
(and Pulitzer Prize winner) Pilgrim at
Tinker Creek detailing how surrounding survival can be frightening.
Nature competes for resources and we are thick in the battle. Whether in city government or community
management, battling with Nature sends shivers down the spine of the person
managing a budget or making a community livable.
Consider these actual Atlanta-area
“Water is coming down my dining room walls
and out of my chandelier. It started as a trickle and now it is
pouring.” Source of the problem: rats made their home in the
ceiling, licking the condensation off of the sprinkler pipes. As the
population grew, the condensation was not enough, so the rats chewed into the
pressurized pipe. Vendors paid to track down and resolve this issue
included a plumber, fire protection, water damage mitigation, flooring,
painter, electrician, insurance and wildlife management.
“My neighbor’s house sounds like an
engine. I see bees coming and going from a small hole in the
siding.” Issue: Bees founded a honey hive in the space between the siding
and the wallboard. Besides hiring wildlife management to carefully remove
the bees and get rid of the hive and the honey, contractors were needed to
replace insulation and wallboard sections, repaint the room, and patch
the exterior entry hole.
“I have about a foot of sewage in my
townhouse that has flowed out of the toilet.” Problem: the sewer
line was filled with small roots coiled inside and around the pipe, blocking
all waterflow. After calling out the plumber,
vendors were needed to mitigate the sewage, install flooring, replace and
paint wallboard, and restore or replace sofas, chairs, and antique dining room
Other actual incidents: A window crashing through wall studs weakened
by termites, a fire burning a townhome due to mice-chewed wiring, allergy
sufferers discovering squirrel or bat infestations…
Proactive prevention and early detection are
keys to fighting a seemingly invisible force. Partner with plumbers, pest
control providers, wildlife management specialists and arborists to work on
plans. Prevention budgeting is cheaper than fixing problems after the fact,
and a lot less stressful for all: Raise
community awareness so we can all avoid becoming nature’s next “victims”!
A special "thank you" to Terrence Spires with Team Pest USA and
Dawn Shaddix with Northwest Exterminating for providing the pictures used within this post!