Pet Waste and Water Quality
Did you know that pet waste contributes to the quality of the local waterways?
It does . . . and in a bigger way than most pet owners can imagine. The American Pet Association estimates that there are 71 million pet dogs in the United States which produce over 4.4 billion pounds of waste every year. This is enough waste to cover 900 football fields with 12 inches of dog waste. Wow!
Consider also that a day's waste from one large dog can contains 7.8 billion fecal coliform bacteria - enough to contaminate 15 acres of shellfish. With these figures in mind it isn't a big stretch to see how pet waste washed down storm drains and into our local streams, lakes, and inlets can make a big impact on the water.
In 2000, the Henderson Inlet and Nisqually Reach created two shellfish protection districts due to shellfish bed downgrades. A recent study in Seattle found that nearly 20 percent of the bacteria that could be matched with host animals were matched with dogs.
In addition to fecal coliform, pet waste also contains disease-causing organisms such as salmonella, campylobacteriosis, toxocariasis (roundworm), toxoplasmosis, and giardia. These organisms tracked into your house from your animals can make humans quite sick.
Not to mention
parvovirus, which is a highly contagious infection that is contracted
through feces and can cause severe illness and even death.
There are also pooper-scooper ordinances in Kitsap and Thurston Counties which require animal owners to remove deposits of fecal material originating from the owner's animal from public or private property or risk fines or worse.
The message is that pooping pets pose a pollution predicament. But the good news is that if each pet owner properly disposes of pet waste we can all help protect our water quality
For more information use these links:
aPaws - The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists
Thurston Conservation District - Olympia, Washington
The Environmental Protection Agency
Mason Conservation District
November 2011 Pacshell Pet Waste Scoop to Win Report
Kitsap County Ordinance
What You Can Do to Protect Puget Sound and Local Waterways
- Pick up pet waste on a regular basis
- Double Bag it (or triple in Mason County) and Put it in the Garbage
- Flush Waste Down the Toilet (not for septic systems)
- Install an In Ground Pet Waste Treatment System
- Carry Bags When You Walk and Be a Considerate Sidewalk User by Picking Up After Fido
- Hire a Professional Scooping Service Like LawnDoodles!
Help Make A Difference! Scoop When They Poop!