COVID-19 information
For the latest updates, please visit our coronavirus (COVID-19) website:
Last updated:

Environmental Sanitation

Learn how we protect public health by keeping Boston free of pests and rodents. We also mange autoshop licensing in the City.

The Environmental Sanitation Division works to prevent rodent infestations in the City. They do this in several ways by:

  • filing pest management reports
  • educating residents about mosquitoes and rodents
  • permitting and reviewing construction plans, and
  • conducting baiting and trapping each season.


About our division

What we do

We conduct inspections to make sure there is no rodent infestation present on a property. When we get a complaint, we'll do a comprehensive inspection of the area. We look for signs of an infestation and try to find and eliminate food sources.

We use rodenticides to deal with infestations of rats and mice. We place them in areas that experience activity including:

  • burrows and sewers
  • construction sites, and
  • public alleys.
Other focus areas

We also conduct trapping during breeding seasons throughout the year. We place traps in public areas such as parks, playgrounds and public ways.

Our Integrated Pest Management program uses many methods to keep the pest population low. We try to reduce the use pesticides so as not to have an effect on the public health.

Pest management for construction sites

Developer responsibilities 

Developers need to control rodent infestations before we will issue them a building permit to do work. This is in accordance with:

  • Massachusetts Building Code, section 108.6
  • Massachusetts State Sanitary Code, Ch. 1, 105 CMR 400.100 and Ch. II, 105 CMR 410.550, and
  • the City of Boston Code, Ordinance Chapter 16-Section 31 and Ch. 9, Section 1.2.
City of Boston Ordinance

City Ordinance Article 16, Section 31, Rodent Inspection Prevention Measures at Construction Site, states:

No building permit shall be issued for renovation, conversion, or new construction until the applicant shows evidence that the premises have been treated for, or are free from insects and rodents in compliance with all applicable codes. The contractor/applicant shall be held responsible for corrective measures should the construction, renovation or conversion work cause infestation to immediate abutters. Read the City Ordinance Article 16, Section 31.


If we find an infestation or rodent activity, we will write and serve abatement notices to the property owner or manager. We will also perform a compliance inspection within 7 - 10 business days after the initial inspection.


If the violation or violations aren't corrected, we will serve a notice to appear at an Administrative Hearing to the owner or manager of the property.

A Hearing Officer conducts the hearing. The Inspector will give testimony as to the conditions of the property, the violations cited, and the date and time of the re-inspection.

The property owner or manager will also be given a chance to give testimony to the conditions of the property. They can also state what has been or will be done to bring the property up to code. The Hearing Officer will take all testimony into consideration and render their decision within 7 - 10 business days.

We hold all hearings at:

1010 Massachusetts Avenue 
4th Floor Conference Room 
Boston, MA 02118 

Rodent Prevention Tips

Tips on Keeping Rodents Away
  • Keep unit clean.
  • Seal all holes around pipes, heating ducts and under cabinets.
  • Clean all hidden areas under stoves and refrigerators on a regular basis.
  • Keep yard clean, cut grass.
  • Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Remove weeds and debris near buildings and in yards.
  • Do not leave pet food outside.
  • Hire a licensed, insured pest control company familiar with IPM (Integrated Pest Management) techniques.
  • Keep grass and shrubbery well-trimmed.
  • Place bird food in a feeder, not on the ground, clean up spillage daily.
  • Clean up animal waste frequently!
  • Be sure to seal any openings to the house, even above ground level.
  • Repair any breaks in the sewer line connecting your home with the main sewer system.
Did You Know?
  • The Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus) is the most common rat in the North East Region. These rats are heavy set, light brown to almost black. Their droppings are capsule shaped, about three quarters of an inch long.
  • Rats generally live for one year at which time they can have six to twelve “pups” per litter, up to seven times a year.
  • Rats burrow in the ground, under buildings and rubbish; usually living well within 150 feet of food and water source.
  • Rats require roughly one ounce of food a day and a half ounce of water. They feed habitually on familiar food, preferring meats and grains, and are cautious of new items or new food.
  • Rats can jump up to three feet and climb wires and pipe very well. Keep doors and windows screened with half-inch mesh hardware cloth. 
Pest management brochure:
Back to top