busterminalselangorpigeons1311Gary Samuelson knows Kansas University Parking has a lot of larger issues these days, but he’s tired of walking through pigeon poop in the Mississippi Street garage.

“There’s a pigeon problem,” Samuelson, who works at Watson Library, said Tuesday during KU Parking’s fall open forum. “If I was a visitor to KU and parked in the garage, and that was your first sight to get to the Union … blech.”

KU is working on a solution — although it’s not as simple as just power washing the garage.

KU Parking is in the process of special-ordering a system that would allow it to power-wash the garage, capture the runoff, filter it, and reuse the water, associate parking director Danny Kaiser said.

The City of Lawrence prohibits putting cleaning runoff into the storm sewer, where the garage drains, Kaiser said.

Besides the pigeon poop, other substances that dirty the garage — such as oil, sand, silt and winter road salt — “are very polluting,” Kaiser said. “We want to capture that.”

The new system is to be operating by the end of the semester, KU hopes.

Kaiser said it would include a power-washer with a clean water tank, equipment to redirect water runoff from the storm sewer into a holding tank, and equipment to filter sediments out of the water for reuse.

He said the system would be portable so KU could use it in other garages as well.

The Mississippi Street garage is not the only one with a pigeon problem, Kaiser said, but poop tends to pile up near doorways there, which makes it more of an obstacle.

KU’s street-sweeping machine is too tall to fit into the garage, Kaiser said.

In an attempt to make the garage less attractive to pigeons in the first place, KU Parking Director Donna Hultine said they have installed devices to prevent them from perching on ledges. They have not been completely dissuaded, however.

“Now I notice pigeons sitting on the cars,” she said.

Until the new cleaning system comes in, Samuelson wondered if someone could tackle the worst spots with a mop and bucket.

“We can make an effort to get something done in there,” Hultine said.

About 20 people attended the annual fall parking open forum, held in the Kansas Union, and voiced various questions and frustrations. Hultine described it as an opportunity for KU Parking to hear those concerns as well as ideas for solutions.


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