Vacant Bank Foreclosure Homes Bring Disease to Neighborhoods

by on Foreclosure Crisis

Bank forclosure homes have already wreaked havoc to the lives of thousands of homeowners and communities. Now, the foreclosure crisis has added health issues as among its effects.

Mosquitoes and algae are just some of the problems associated with swimming pools in abandoned foreclosed properties in areas hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, particularly in warmer states of California and Nevada.

The Southern Nevada Health District has a crew of environmental health specialists in charged with preventing swimming pools from turning into disease incubators. And the team has been swamped with work for the past several years.

Nevada foreclosure filings reached 41,296 in the first quarter of this year, a jump of 19 percent from the last quarter of 2008 and 111 percent from the first quarter a year ago. Current market data showed that one out of 27 houses in Nevada is under foreclosure proceedings for the first quarter of 2009.

And most often, families who used to live in big foreclosed properties left their swimming pools still full of water or worse, dog waste.

Nevada’s health district has noticed an increase in the number of complaints against these swimming pools in abandoned, foreclosed homes from 2007 to 2008. And the number of complaints is still increasing with almost 80 percent rise in the first quarter from 2008 to 2009.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, complaints against abandoned swimming pools have reached 14,000 this year. And finding these abandoned swimming pools is not an easy task. The website of San Diego County, California described abandoned swimming pools as potential source of various injuries and diseases, including Cryptosporidia, E. coli and Giardia. The county is conducting weekly flyovers via helicopters to find rancid pools.

A major health problem brought about by an abandoned swimming pool is mosquitoes. Abandoned pools are known to be favorite breeding ground of mosquitoes. Some states deal with the mosquito problem in swimming pools by putting in mosquitofish. However, in order to eliminate mosquitoes in a 400 square feet swimming pool, a state may need 50 mosquitofish and this could cost a lot.

In California, where filings for bank forclosure homes reached 230,915 in the first quarter of this year, the potential of mosquitoes to spread the West Nile Virus is becoming a major health issue.