Neighbor could be cited for unsightly backyard pool

The property next door to me just sold, and the new neighbor has let the large in-ground pool and several large ponds go green and slimy. I am worried on two fronts — first, the murky pool is a safety hazard in this neighborhood with a lot of children. Second, the pool and ponds are a mosquito menace. What departments in the city deal with these issues? Does Vector Control respond to pool and pond issues?

— Concerned in west Medford, via email

Your question covers a lot of ground, er, water, so allow us to clear things up — even if your neighbor can't.

Lt. Mike Budreau with the Medford Police Department pointed us to three possible code violations:

  • Medford Code 9.511 sets requirements for fencing, gates and doors for pools, ponds and other uncovered bodies of water lower than 36 inches above ground.
  • Code 7.954 specifically states, "Pools and spas shall be kept in working order, so that water remains clear and free of pollutants and debris; or drained and kept covered."
  • Code Chapter 10 subsection 1001.11 prohibits stagnant water along with other health or safety hazards, including garbage, dead organic matter and weed accumulation.

A violation of any of the codes could result in a $150 fine, Budreau said.

Reports can be made by calling Medford Code Enforcement at 541-774-2016.

As for the mosquito half of your concern, we reached out to Jim Lunders, manager and biologist at Jackson County Vector Control. Lunders said Vector Control does respond to pool and pond issues and controls mosquito larvae in one of two ways, depending on the pool condition.

If the pool is likely to be put back into use, Vector Control uses BTI, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Lunders said the soil-derived bacteria controls mosquito larvae for a month. Damaged pools and ponds that won't be repaired are stocked with fish that feed on mosquito larvae.

You can reach Vector Control at 541-826-2199.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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