DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbors’ backyard and mine touch. They had a pool, but it collapsed. Instead of fixing it, they've left it that way for over a year. The water is green and murky, and it is attracting insects and animals. We are friendly enough with our neighbors, but I feel like their issues are spilling over onto us. How should we approach them? We are unaware of their financial situation. -- Health Hazard
DEAR HEALTH HAZARD: Start by talking to your neighbors. Point out that the standing water in their pool is attracting unwelcome animals and bugs, and you are concerned about your family’s health -- as well as theirs. Request that they drain the pool at the very least. Ideally, they should dismantle and dispose of the pool remnants. You can make that request as well. If they refuse or drag their heels, you can call 311 and report the health hazard to your local authorities. Naturally, it would be better if you didn’t have to involve the law, but you should try to have this resolved as soon as possible. The hotter it gets, the more creatures and germs that murky water is likely to attract.
You mention not knowing their financial situation. That really shouldn’t matter. They can drain the pool themselves. Dismantling it may be more tedious, but it is their responsibility. If you are up to the challenge, you could offer to help them. If not, make it clear to them that either they handle this problem, or you will be forced to call the authorities.