Rats! Battery Park City uses dry ice to kill vermin

They’re icing out rats in Battery Park City.

Local maintenance crews are dumping dry ice in the pesky rodents’ burrows in the trendy Lower Manhattan neighborhood so that when it melts, it leaves behind carbon dioxide, which suffocates them.

“Here in Battery Park City, we’re no stranger to having rodents, and so we wanted to make sure that we were able to manage them while keeping everything chemical-free,” Alexis Torres, chief of staff at the Battery Park City Authority, recently told The Post.

In addition to effectively killing rats, dry ice is hailed as an environmentally sound way to nix them because it doesn’t harm other wildlife and pets, which can ingest chemicals such as pesticides used to exterminate rodents.

City agencies also use dry ice as one of many techniques to fight rats, the mayor’s office said.

The Post was invited to a demonstration where BPCA maintenance workers poured the required 2 pounds of so-called “rat ice” into the holes of local rat burrows and then immediately covered the ice with soil.

The dead rats are left in the ground to compost. 

When the dry ice melts, it leaves behind carbon dioxide, which suffocates the rodents.
Polaris/Matthew McDermott

BPCA maintenance crews eliminated 147 rat burrows last year and 62 so far this year using dry ice, Torres said.

“When the rat ice became available … we were able to utilize that, and we’ve been doing that for I would say the better part of a couple of years,” she said. 

“We also cover the holes immediately so that there’s no way anybody or anything can get to it. So it’s a minimal risk as far as I’m concerned. It’s nice to know that we’re able to actively manage the population.”

She said staffers are required to be licensed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the dry-ice treatment because it is technically classified as a pesticide. 

Torres said the 92-acre BPCA,  which oversees 16,169 residents in 30 buildings, 10.7 million square feet of commercial office space and 36 acres of parkland, also has compactor programs that help keep residential trash off the streets, which is ano ther way to curb the rodent population. 

dry ice dump
Dry ice doesn’t harm other wildlife and pets, which can ingest chemicals such as pesticides used to exterminate rodents.

dry ice
The dead rats will be left in the ground to compost. 
Matthew McDermott

Mayor Eric Adams is obsessed with curbing the city’s rat population when he’s not trying to bring down crime.

Hizzoner has even grappled with rodent infestation summonses at his own residential property in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

He and his Republican rival for mayor in 2021, Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa, have traded barbs over the embarrassing situation, and Sliwa even toured Adams’ block claiming he wanted to help rid it of pests.

“Most people don’t know this about me, but I hate rats, and pretty soon, [city Sanitation] Commissioner [Jessica] Tisch, they are going to hate me,” Adams said during his 2023 State of the City address.

“Hiring our new rat czar — and it won’t be Curtis Sliwa — will be just the beginning of a new era and delivering the best in public service and public spaces,” Hizzoner said.

“The future of our city will be cleaner, greener, and healthier for all, including our wildlife and marine life. Like the dolphins who recently visited us in the Bronx River. That’s the future of our city. More dolphins, fewer rats.”

dry ice
The Battery Park City Authority team started laying out the ice in Battery Park.
Matthew McDermott

In addition to using dry ice, city agencies employ traditional snap traps, bait, “burrow harassment” and other methods to combat rats.

“While there is no one silver bullet when it comes to eliminating rats, this administration is tackling this problem from all angles — investing millions in cleanliness initiatives, reducing the time that black bags sit on our corners, rolling out the largest curbside composting program in the country to secure food scraps in bins, rather than plastic bags, and more,” a mayoral rep said.

“We are also hiring a rat czar to better coordinate all the actions and activities to fight rats.”