In the Puget Sound region, runoff from rain or snowmelt flows down our catch basins and into our lakes, streams and/or the Puget Sound with little to no treatment. One common pollutant in runoff is dog poop.
How bad can it be if I don’t pick up once or twice?
If dog poop is exposed to rain, the runoff (given a medium sized area with only 100 dogs) can contain enough pollution to close a bay to swimming and shellfish harvesting. Now consider that in Seattle alone there are over 43,000 registered dogs. All of these pets combined can create about 16 tons of waste each day. That’s a lot of poop! This represents a lot of potential pollutants entering our waterways and aquatic habitats.
How does pet waste affect water quality?
When dog poop is washed into lakes or streams, the waste decays, using up oxygen and releasing ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia, combined with warm water temperatures, can kill fish and other aquatic life. Dog poop also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Nutrient loaded waters can become cloudy, green and unattractive for swimming, boating and fishing.
Is pet waste dangerous to my family’s health?
Dog poop can carry viruses, bacteria, and disease, including tapeworm, roundworm, E. Coli, campylobacteriosis, and more. It is unsafe for humans to come into contact with dog poop, which can also affect shellfish harvesting and lead to beach closures.
How do I get rid of pet waste?
Cleaning up after your pet can be as simple as taking a plastic bag or pooper scooper along with you on your next walk. Simply bag it up, and place it in the trash. Because pet waste may carry diseases, it does not go in your yard waste container or your own compost pile.