Did you know that picking up after your pet is vital to the health of our local waterways?
Pets give us unconditional love, but their waste certainly does not. Contrary to some thinking, pet feces is not a fertilizer for soil or plants, and quite the opposite of good intentions can occur. Pet “poop” can affect stormwater quality by running off into storm drains and in to streams, creating potential algae blooms and affecting water toxicity.
“Pet waste has very high pathogens, nitrogens, phosphorus and bacteria,” said Michael Hanna, City stormwater technician. “It should not be viewed as an alternate fertilizer source. And we ask those owners who leave their pet waste on the ground for whatever reason, to think of those potentially affected by Fido’s waste now by stepping it it, or later.”
According to Hanna, even if the waste is not near a waterway, it can be carried off to the nearby storm drain. “Unlike the water treatment plants throughout the County that have methods to treat human wastewater, there is no treatment facility for pet waste that flows directly into our streams and creeks.”
The most healthy way to ensure that pet waste does not pour into waterways is to scoop it into a bag – recycled grocery bags or specially-made pet waste bags -- and throw it in the trash.
Most of the City’s 70 pet waste bag stations are located at park, greenway and cemetery entrances and exits and periodically filled by the public services department. There are also pet waste bag stations at the Dog PAWS Dog Park near the Civic Center.
“Scooping your pet poop is just one of the ways we can all play a part in ensuring safe water quality here in Salisbury.”