When most people think about stormwater pollution the last thing they think about is their pet’s waste. That is why it is one of the largest unknown contributors to stormwater pollution and water quality impacts.
Pet waste can make our water unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other types of recreation. If it’s not disposed of properly, pet waste can be carried by stormwater runoff (rain water/snow melt) to storm drains that empty untreated into local creeks and rivers.
Not only does pet waste contribute harmful viruses and bacteria but also nutrients that impair the quality of the receiving stream. The nutrients can cause algal blooms that can eventually deplete oxygen and other essential elements needed for fish and other aquatic life.
Although it may be one of the largest unknown contributors of stormwater pollution it can be one of the easiest to eliminate and it only takes you. The next time you are taking your pet for their daily walk on campus or through the city remember these three little steps:
Grab it! – Grab a plastic bag before leaving for the walk
Bag it! – Use the plastic bag as a glove to scoop up the waste then turn the bag inside out and tie it closed.
Trash it! - Throw the bag away at the next nearest trash receptacle or at home.
It’s that simple. Remember it is everyone’s responsibility to create a clean environment.