Pet Waste and Water Quality

Pet waste poses a significant problem for water resources. Pet owners have the ability and responsibility to reduce the problem. Pollutants from improperly disposed pet waste is easily carried by stormwater from rain or melting snow. Stormwater in turn drains directly into lakes and streams. As this waste is broken down, it uses up oxygen and can release ammonia. Low oxygen levels, ammonia and warm temperatures combine to create a toxic environment that can kill fish and other aquatic species.

Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage algae growth in waterbodies. Lastly, pet waste carries diseases, which can make water unsafe for swimming or drinking. Cleaning up after a pet is a simple task requiring only carrying a plastic bag (where they are not already provided) and/or scooper while walking pets.

After picking up pet waste, it can be flushed down the toilet or buried away from any water resources or wells. While cat litter should not be flushed down the toilet, cat feces can be scooped out and flushed. Used litter should be put in a securely closed bag in the trash. Be sure to check your local ordinances as putting pet waste in the trash is against the law in some communities.

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