Pet waste is one of the many common storm water pollutants that can degrade water quality including paint, oil, automotive fluids, construction debris, yard waste, pesticides, trash and pool chemicals.
Water pollution threatens every living thing on earth today, and a common contributor is dog waste. Unscooped dog droppings lead to unnaturally high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in lakes, streams and oceans, choking out aquatic life and threatening the survival of many aquatic species. By simply cleaning up after your dog each day, you can help prevent water pollution and protect fragile aquatic life.
Dog waste is a type of what’s called nonpoint source pollution, which occurs when rain and melting snow pick up pollutants on the ground and deposit them into rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal waters and groundwater. Other examples of such water pollution include motor oil and pesticides.
This water pollution promotes the growth of aquatic weeds and algae, which then limit light penetration and reduce oxygen levels — eventually, it creates a deadly environment for fish and other aquatic life, and widespread fish killscan be one result.
Pollution from dog waste also poses a health hazard to human beings and other pets, whether it’s in water or on land. Bacteria and parasites contained in the waste can infect adults and children with Campylobacterioaia, Salmonellosis and Toxocariasis, for example. And because of those threats, dog waste is not a suitable fertilizer. Dog waste also has a very high nitrogen content, which can be harmful to native plants and grasses.
Clean up after your dog: Preventing water pollution can be as easy as remembering to take along a plastic bag or pooper scooper when you walk your dog. Scoopers are available in most pet stores. Once you’ve done — or paid someone else to do — the dirty work, you can dispose of the waste in a variety of ways:
- Put it in the trash, still wrapped in its bag.
- Flush it down the toilet (without the bag)
- Bury it in your yard, at least five inches deep and located away from food gardens, kids’ play areas, waterways, wetlands, wells or ditches