Are you polluting our lakes and streams?
Pollutants from improperly disposed pet waste may be washed into storm drains by rain. Storm sewers usually drain directly into our lakes and streams, carrying many pollutants along with the water. When pet waste is washed into lakes or streams the waste decays, using up oxygen and sometimes releasing ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia combined with warm temperatures can kill fish. Pet waste also carries diseases which makes water unsafe for swimming or drinking.
Many of the creeks in Alachua County are on the State's Impaired Waters List due to high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria. Studies have shown the dog waste is one of the sources of this bacteria. Whereas some sources are expensive to eliminate, pet waste can be kept out of our creeks by scooping, bagging, and trashing it ALL THE TIME!
Are you risking the health of kids and pets?
Dog waste can contain:
Hook worms - In people, these larvae usually migrate in the skin causing an itchy red track to develop.
Round worms - Can cause vision problems and nervous deficits.
Cryptosporidium- Common symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and dehydration. May be fatal to people with depressed immune systems.
Campylobacteriosis - A bacterial infection carried by dogs and cats that frequently causes diarrhea in humans. Giardia- Can cause extreme diarrhea. The eggs of some parasites can stay inactive in the environment for years, until a new host comes along. Don't let it be you or your dog!
"The bottom line is if we pick up the feces passed by our dogs and cats when they are outside and dispose of the feces, we can reduce the level of environmental contamination and possibly reduce the risk of dog and cat infections and the possible involvement of the human population."
Ellis C. Greiner, Professor of Parasitology
College of Veterinary Medicine University of Florida
"Prompt removal of pet waste can greatly reduce the possible risk of infection from the protozoan Cryptosporidium and Giardia and the bacteria Campylobacter and E.coli. These pathogenic organisms can contaminate both surface and drinking water resulting in gastrointestinal illness if incidentally consumed. Roundworms and hookworms are intestinal parasites that can present a risk of infection if soil becomes contaminated."
Environmental Health Director Alachua County Health Department
Am I going to pollute by putting dog poop in the landfill?
No, landfills have liners and treatment systems, so pollutants won't leach into the environment. We certainly want to reduce our waste stream to landfills wherever possible. When it comes to pet waste, however, there is currently no better alternative.
If you buried pet waste in your own yard you may cause health problems, especially if it is close to a garden or play area. In many places in Alachua County the groundwater is close to the surface or only protected by sandy soils that allow pollutants to quickly travel to our drinking water, so burying it on your own isn't the best solution.
At some point in the future, commercial composting technology may be sufficient to treat pet waste, enabling curbside pickup along with yard waste. Until then, landfilling is the best alternative for pet waste.
Composting yard wastes = GOOD
Composting pet wastes = BAD
Is pet waste a fertilizer?
Being the eco-minded organization that we are, we wish we could tell you to compost and re-use dog waste. All of the research we did confirmed the fact that PET WASTE IS NOT HEALTHY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. This includes lawns, gardens, compost piles, bushes, waterbodies, etc. The big danger is the organisms living in the waste that can get you and your pets sick. Most compost piles do NOT get hot enough to kill these organisms. Stick to the classic manures and organic fertilizers for your landscaping and bag and trash your pet waste.
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View a 15 second Video!