Scoop on Poop
Many volunteers seem to have concerns
about bacteria in their lakes. We may not like the green water
associated with algae blooms or the brown water associated with
eroded soil, but it’s the bacteria that most people are
really worried about. And that’s for a good reason, fecal
bacteria can cause sickness.
Usually we look around the landscape for the source of the
offending bacteria. Septic systems, lagoon overflows, municipal
sewer systems are all subject to careful scrutiny. There is
another source of fecal coliform bacteria contamination that
is frequently overlooked, and that is pet waste. In fact, two
studies found that 95% of the fecal coliform bacteria in urban
stormwater was not from humans.
|There is an estimated 5,000 pounds
of poop generated each day from 12,000 dogs in one watershed of
a Washington D.C. suburb (0.42 pounds per dog per day). What happens
to all of that stuff? If it isn’t picked up it dissolves
in the rain and snow eventually. But it doesn’t just “go
away”. It runs downhill and into the nearest waterway. If
you live on a lake, that’s where it goes.
Yes, your sweet pooch that is all smiles and kisses at one
end, is busy polluting with the other. Picking up after our
pets is the best way to prevent their waste from getting in
our lakes and streams. It seems, however, that only about 40%
of us do that. Women are more likely to pick up the stuff than
men are, according to the Center for Watershed Protection.
It’s a shame we aren’t more likely to pick up after
our animals. Just one day of dog doo can contain 4.4 billion
fecal coliform bacteria. Dogs can be hosts for Giardia and Salmonella,
two diseases caused by microbes that can adversely affect human
health. These issues are resolved by simply picking up the poop.
After picking up our puppy’s “gift”
we have a few options. We can flush it down our toilet where
it will be treated just like human waste, we can throw it away
with our trash, or we can bury it. If you choose to bury your
pet waste, be sure to put about eight inches of soil on top
and don’t bury it too close to the lake. Also, don’t
mix pet poop with your vegetable garden. It’s OK to compost
dog doo, but don’t use the resulting mixture where children
will be playing or where you will be growing food.
Another option I haven’t covered yet is a professional
service that will scoop up and dispose of your fido feces in
a friendly fashion, for a fee.
more information, click this link
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