Over the last two years, TransGard has examined the problems that occur as a result of birds roosting and nesting in substations: the accumulation of bird feces on substation equipment can be corrosive to building materials and equipment, and in certain conditions, feces can be conductive and cause system outages from “flashovers” when sensitive components become connected by streaming droppings.
While these things on their own warrant keeping birds out of substations, bird droppings present an outright health risk to substation workers, maintenance, and clean-up crews.
MORE THAN 60 DISEASES
According to an article in Medical News Today, bird droppings can carry as many as 60 diseases that can have a range of harmful effects if transferred to humans. For example:
Respiratory illness: This problem occurs most frequently when dried bird droppings disintegrate into dust and are inhaled by humans. In some cases, as with the disease Histoplasmosis, fungi grow in bird droppings, break in to dust as they dry, and result in a potentially fatal respiratory disease when aspirated.
Digestive illness: Intestinal parasites that are found in contaminated food can be picked up by birds and deposited in droppings. Illnesses in humans can include diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Nervous system ailments: Yeast found in the intestinal tract of birds and deposited in droppings can cause pulmonary disease and central nervous system problems if accidentally inhaled or otherwise ingested by humans.
Besides being direct carriers of disease, birds are associated with over 50 kinds of ectoparasites like bed bugs, chicken mites, and others, which can work their way throughout structures to infest and bite humans.
To learn more about the risks, read this article.
TRANSGARD CAN HELP
If your utility has a problem with birds roosting and nesting in your substations, we can help. Learn about our Laser Bird Defense, which now protects dozens of substations for 20 utilities across 15 states.