Neighbors around the intersection of 8th Street and Maryland Avenue NE say they are being forced inside this summer because of a rat problem that appears to stem from unsanitary practices at the 7-Eleven on that corner. David Holmes, Chairman of ANC 6A, contacted me to let me know how out of control the problem has become and also to let me know that there will be a meeting Tuesday, July 19th at 7pm at the Sherwood Recreation Center. The meeting will bring together neighbors; representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Mayor’s office, and the Department of Health; as well as representatives from the 7-Eleven which many neighbors claim is the root of the rat problem.
I’ve read through pages of emails from neighbors around the 7-Eleven who are reporting that conditions behind the store are directly contributing to the rats they are seeing around their homes. Many have reported seeing as many as five rats at a time traveling together across yards during the day, but always returning to the alley behind the convenience market. There have also been accounts of watching rats crawl into the foundation of the building that houses 7-Eleven.
The neighbors say that 7-Eleven’s alley trash receptacles are overflowing and leaking and that the rats have chewed through the bottoms, causing any trash that is put in the containers to flow out into the alley. The neighbors have said that 7-Eleven management has been unresponsive and that they’ve had enough. A few have said that they are no longer using their decks because of the presence of rats and rat feces.
A Health Department Inspection document dated July 6, 2011 indicates that among other violations, mice droppings were seen in the rear storage and customer areas and that rodents had eaten through the waste cans in the rear of the store, and that 7-Eleven has 45 days to, “…clean ground area where storage racks are held in shed and remove racks.”
In the meantime, 7-Eleven remains open and neighbors say they are forced to live indoors until a solution is found. City officials have been responsive to neighbor concerns, but until 7-Eleven cleans up after itself, abatement efforts seem futile. Hopefully the meeting on the 19th will prove productive and all parties can find a solution that allows this corner of our neighborhood to go back to enjoying it, inside and out.