SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Vector Control District says West Nile virus is on the rise.  And now the city of Sacramento says it may be partially responsible for more mosquito activity in the area.

“I have been bit and they’ve gotten all over my legs,” said May Lee, who lives in the Pocket area.

Lee told CBS13 mosquito attacks tend to happen down at Pocket Canal on walks with her dog Neptune.

“I think my little dog’s been bit too,” she said.

And when you see mosquitoes, there’s a good chance there’s standing water nearby.

This summer, the Pocket Canal that connects to the Sacramento River has had more water than usual.

“We still have ground water that infiltrates into our drainage system,” said Sherill Huun, an engineer with Sacramento Department of Utilities. “Runoff from sprinklers, when people over water, wash their car.”

Typically, the Department of Utilities keeps the water flowing with pumps.  But Huun said they shut the pumps down for three weeks in June.

“There is issues with algae and we sometimes receive odor complaints,” she said.

And to effectively treat the water with algaecide, the department needed the water to be still.

“Part of turning the pump station off, the elevation just rose a bit, but it actually caused standing water in the bottom of the inlet boxes,” Huun said.

Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. And with an increased risk of West Nile virus in the area, parents like Eric Rivera are unsettled.

“Sometimes I inhale mosquitoes and I do wonder about that!” Rivera said.

But Luz Maria Robles with Sacramento Vector Control District it’s not entirely the city’s fault for increased mosquito activity.

“Anything that can hold water for more than a few days can easily become a mosquito breeding source,” Robles said.

And it’s up homeowners to make sure their water doesn’t pile up.

Huun says once the city heard from Vector Control they turned the pumps back on.  And Vector Control will be spraying the area on Monday and Tuesday to keep the mosquito population at bay.


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