Seattle Airport Has Unwelcome Visitors: Rats
Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SEA) has attracted more and more flyers in recent years. Unfortunately, the airport also has attracted unprecedented numbers of unwanted visitors: rats.
SEA is facing a rat infestation thanks both to a host of construction projects, which are pushing rats into the terminal, and its uptick in passengers, who leave more garbage behind for the rats to feast on.
Reportedly, the airport is currently undergoing 120 construction projects. Airport officials are working with restaurant owners to help devise a solution to the rampant rodent problem.
“A lot of the food spaces are doing some new deep cleans in their spaces, some of the spaces that are in and around construction, they’ve gotta make sure they have holes sealed up that wildlife may end up getting into,” airport spokesman Perry Cooper told KIRO 7 news.
Officials are also adding nearly half a million dollars to the airport's pest control budget to help assuage the issue. The extra $449,000 will help pay for new rodent sensors to help catch the vermin, as well as hiring four staff members who will be on rat patrol in the terminals 24/7.
Inspectors from Seattle and King County's Health Department are closely monitoring the situation and are making weekly visits to the airport to check on the its progress in stopping the rats. No restaurants inside the airport have yet been closed due to the rat infestation. Travelers are encouraged not to leave their trash around the terminals, as that attracts the rodents. Health officials say the situation has been improving.
"Our Environmental Health team is aware of the rat issue in the central terminal, and they are providing technical assistance to the facilities to help them address the problem," the Seattle and King's County Health Department told KIRO 7 in a statement. "So far, nothing we've seen has risen to the level of an imminent health threat, and they are making progress on correcting the issue."