...is that if you don’t pick it up no one will, ultimately tainting our waterways with bacteria!
Whether you are at a dog park, a hiking trail, or at home when your pet takes a bathroom break, it stays put in that same spot until someone steps in it or a rain storm or melting snow moves it into our local ponds, streams and lakes. Places we love to enjoy recreational time with our families.
The problem is that pet waste isn’t just a nuisance for our shoes when we step in it. The real danger is when the pet waste breaks down and travels by storm water into our local waterways. We no longer see the pet waste, but the bacteria it carries become a big problem.
“Pollutants from improperly disposed pet waste may be washed into the storm drainage system by rain or melting snow,” the Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition says. “Storm runoff in Salt Lake County receives no treatment.”
That means, if you leave your pet waste on the lawn, the dog park or a hiking trail it can make its way to ponds, lakes and streams. Once there it can kill fish, increase weed and algae growth, and make water unsafe for people and even their pets by exposing them to:
- E coli
If you chose to bury your pet waste in your yard, it can still cause problems for the soil and ground water – bacteria doesn’t disappear because you can't see it anymore.
The good news is that we can avoid these problems by changing our habits. Here are two ways to responsibly dispose of your pet’s waste:
Throw it away
“Throw it away” means in the garbage bin, not the yard waste bin. Additionally, Salt Lake City recommends bagging animal waste before throwing it away by using biodegradable bags or ones made from recycled resources.
Flush it down the toilet
Just as human waste can go in the toilet, so can pet waste as long as it doesn’t have sticks, rocks or litter box pebbles stuck to it.
By taking responsibility for your pet’s waste, you can help keep Utah’s waterways safe for the people, plants and animals who depend on them. For more tips, visit stormwatercoalition.org.