Why is it a problem?
Unattended pet waste is a large source of stormwater pollution. Pet waste left on grassy areas, sidewalks and streets is flushed into our storm drain system when it rains. Pet waste contains bacteria that can cause diseases in humans if it contaminates streams, lakes and ponds. The toxic mix of bacteria from dog waste and water then flows untreated into our local waterways and ocean.
The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that just 100 dogs in a 20 square mile watershed can contribute enough bacteria, nitrogen and phosphorus in 2 to 3 days to temporarily close a bay to swimming and shell fishing.
Dogs present a special problem. Built to eat almost anything, dogs have as especially large number of intestinal bacteria to digest that wide variety of food, about 23 million bacteria per gram of waste.