Friday, August 01, 2008

Don't Go Swimming Where the Water's Green

The Los Angeles Times describes how the decline of the housing bubble is affecting the upscale town of Temecula, California. The swimming pools of abandoned McMansions are becoming breeding grounds for disease. Neighbors of abandoned homes sometimes use green spray paint on dead grass to make it look alive.
Atop onion fields and grazing pastures, they've built a parade of 4,000- and 5,000-square-foot houses—palaces, many of them, with turrets and faux backyard grottoes, with six-car garages and children's playrooms larger than the average Manhattan apartment....

Today, said Rich Johnston, Temecula's deputy director of building and safety and code enforcement, as many as 15% of Temecula's 22,500 single-family homes are bank-owned or in some stage of foreclosure....

Reports of "green pools" -- swimming pools at abandoned homes, green with algae -- were up 45% in the first three months of 2008 compared to the previous year, officials said. Those pools "are almost guaranteed to breed mosquitoes," said Kelly Kersten, a county environmental health technician. He said West Nile virus is a concern....

At a home off Loma Linda Road, Kersten used an electric screwdriver to open the gate of an abandoned house. The backyard was enormous -- and apocalyptic looking, with weeds growing unfettered and a rusting swing set swaying in the breeze.

The pool was bright green, with a dead bird and other debris floating in the middle. Kersten dipped a cup in the muck, then peered into his sample. "Oh, yeah," he said. He retrieved pesticide from his truck, then began spraying it into the pool.

"Watch," he said. "The pool is going to start to percolate." In seconds, the water churned with thousands of larvae and pupae, each trying to escape the poison.
Yum. Any comments from readers?


  1. When will more people go to jail for this calamity?

  2. It's hard to believe.
    Thanks for the information.
    Nice to see your blog.

  3. Uh, Temecula ain't n "upscale" community. (Mucho pickem-ups with gun racks)