Preventing Stormwater Pollution From Pet Waste

While dogs may be some people’s best friends, their poop doesn’t always make the cut! Did you know, pet waste is the largest contributor of bacteria to water pollution, second to sewer overflows? Whether you take the time to bend down and pick up their waste really does have an impact on the environment.


Why is pet waste so damaging to our environment and waterways?

Pet waste contains harmful bacteria that can contaminate our surroundings and infect humans. A study done by the American Chemical Society found antibiotic-resistant forms of E. Coli, among many other types of bacteria, in dog waste. When dog owners fail to pick up their furry friend’s waste, all of these bacteria can be washed away untreated into stormwater drains and local waterways by rain, contaminating water that ultimately flows into the Ocean. Once in the Ocean, these bacteria can harm both the environment and human health.


What are common reasons for people leaving pet waste behind?

While getting dog waste into the garbage seems like an easy task, there are some barriers that prevent people from doing so:


  • Lack of waste bags: One of the most common reasons why people don’t pick up their dog’s waste is that they forget to bring a bag! While some parks and public spaces have doggy bag stations, a lot of areas don’t have this luxury. Luckily, there are doggy bag canisters available for purchase that you can clip on to leashes or collars for easy and convenient access.

  • Lack of trash cans: Some areas don’t have enough trash cans and make it hard for people to find somewhere to toss their bag. While it can be difficult to carry the bags with you for the whole walk, try your best to dispose of it properly once you’ve located a trash can.

  • Location: While dog waste is “natural”, it rarely ends up decomposing on hiking trails or parks like one would expect. Rain will often wash the waste into nearby storm drains or streams. It’s important to pick up dog waste from the ground and toss it in the trash, no matter the location!

  • General awareness: Some people don’t throw dog waste in the trash simply because they don’t know that they should! Often, people assume that dog waste will just decompose in the dirt, but that’s not the case.


How are cities getting involved in curbing water pollution from pet waste?

Pet waste has created some trouble for watersheds on the Midcoast, so the County is taking action and implementing a pet waste campaign to spread awareness about this issue and prevent more bacteria from entering their waterways. Breann Liebermann from the Office of Sustainability explained that pet waste is “a definite source of bacteria in that watershed,” which is why they’re specifically targeting pet waste in their environmental efforts. The two-year campaign will include pet waste cleanups, articles in local newspapers, outreach to K-12 students at local schools, an online pledge (found under County Initiatives), and much more!


Looking for some dog waste products? Come to an event we attend and receive doggy waste bags for free!


Amazon has great prices on canisters and bags: