Clean up after your pet and help keep the watershed healthy for humans, fish and wildlife.
After a heavy rain, data shows that high bacteria levels make most of the Elizabeth River unsafe for swimming, reports the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Pet waste is included in the sources for this harmful bacteria.
The average dog creates 274 pounds of poop per year. With more than 77 million dogs in the US, that's a lot of poop! Just one pile of poop can take up to a year to fully decompose. Dog intestines can harbor coliform bacteria including E. coli and Fecal coliform.
When animal poop is deposited and left on lawns, sidewalks streets, and other surfaces, it can wash into storm drains and end up in the river. Once it is in the river, the breakdown of this poop uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia, causing fish kills and harming other marine organisms. These and other bacteria in pet poop can make the water in your river unsafe for swimming and cause health hazards for humans, too.
What You Can Do
- When you walk your pet, bring a small trowel or pooper scooper and a plastic bag for safe and convenient poop disposal. Do the same when you let your pet "go" in your yard!
- Make sure your pet does not poop directly on the pavement. Choose a grassy area where you can easily pick up your pet's poop and where your pet's pee will not harm plants.
- Flush the poop down the toilet, bury it six inches deep in the ground (without the plastic bag), or place the bag in your garbage can. NEVER place pet poop in the a compost pile.