Accidentally stepping on dog poop is not just an annoyance for you – it could become a problem for your water quality. Doggie poop left on the ground is exposed to rain and snow and can potentially mix with runoff and enter drinking water reservoirs.
What is the problem with dog waste in our water systems?
Dog waste contains many contaminants harmful to water sources, including phosphorous, nitrogen, bacteria, and parasites. If left on the ground or near storm drains it does not go through appropriate waste treatment facilities as our home wastewater does before re-entering water sources. Not only is aquatic life is threatened by the extra nutrients and pathogens, but the water quality for swimming, boating, and fishing suffers.
As it enters water bodies that supply drinking water, once the contamination reaches the municipal drinking water treatment facilities, more resources are needed in the detection and purification processes to ensure bacteria and viruses such as tapeworm, roundworm or E. coli are removed.
It may be hard to image how one dog leaving a small amount of waste is problematic, but the cumulative impact of pet waste can have a significant impact on water quality. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that two days worth of dog waste from about 100 dogs would produce enough pollution to close a beach and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it!
What can be done to prevent water pollution from dog waste?
Dog poo is not a good fertilizer either, so just leaving it in the middle of your yard will not improve your lawn.
What can you do after picking it up? Here are some suggestions:
- Throw it in the trash. Use biodegradable bags which can be thrown in the trash or composted (as long as your compost is not for a edible garden).
- Flush it down the toilet if you are not on a septic system.
- Install an underground pet waste digester such as Doggie Dooley. These are affordable and easy to use in the summer months.
- Bury pet waste in your yard, at least 12 inches deep and cover with at least eight inches of soil to let it decompose slowly (keep away from edible gardens).
Keep your neighborhoods and our Indiana waterways clean by picking up the poo!