Fecal matter contains nutrients, which cause weeds and algae to grow more rapidly than normal. Excess weeds and algal growth changes the balance of the ecosystem. Decaying plant material uses oxygen, which reduces available oxygen essential for life for fish and other aquatic species.
Pet waste can also contain pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms which can transmit disease to humans. When high levels of bacteria are found in a body of water, fishing and shellfish harvesting are restricted because of the treat posed for humans.
WHAT IF I DON’T LIVE NEAR THE WATER?
It may not be apparent to you, especially if you don’t live next to a body of water, how your pet’s waste affects the water quality of lakes, streams, and marine waters in our area. To understand the connection, it is helpful to understand how stormwater runoff works.
Catch basins, manholes, and grass ditches at the edge of your property collect water runoff and direct it to the closest body of water. Typically, stormwater never passes through a sanitary sewer treatment facility. In other words, anything from the ground may eventually end up in a nearby waterway.
PROPER PET WASTE DISPOSAL
Bring plastic bags with you when you walk your dog. Use a bag to pick up the dog waste then tie the waste bag closed and place it in a nearby trashcan or take home to dispose of.
Double bag dog waste and kitty litter. Tie it securely and place it in the garbage. Long handled “pooper scoopers” are available at pet stores making it easy to pick up after your dog without bending over.
DO NOT FLUSH PET WASTE DOWN THE TOILET
Septic systems and wastewater treatment plants are not designed to treat dog or cat waste.
DO NOT COMPOST PET WASTE
The disease causing organisms in pet waste are very sturdy and are not killed by backyard composting.
WATCH WHAT YOU FEED YOUR PET
The type of food you give your pet will affect the quantity of pet waste you must deal with. Rice based food is the most easily digested. Consult your vet if you have any questions.
CONTROL WHERE YOUR PET RELIEVES THEMSELF
Wherever you are this is a good idea; at home or out and about, pet waste needs to be scooped! Chose locations away from storm drains, roadside swales, streams, and drainage pathways.