Pet waste meets storm water

  • Published
  • By Cody Koontz
  • 341st Civil Engineer Squadron

Any time it rains, storm water collects pollutants and eventually takes those pollutants to the river untreated. Pet waste is one of the many contributors of pollutants in our rivers and streams. Pet waste contains several pollutants of concern that degrade water quality. The most obvious pollutant that comes from pet waste is pathogens. Pathogens include bacteria and viruses that can cause human illness if ingested. This can create unsafe conditions for swimming and other recreational activities.

Another pollutant that can come from pet waste is nutrients. Nutrients aren’t as harmless as they may seem. In terms of water quality, nutrients are primarily composed of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds. In large concentrations, these compounds can cause algae blooms and increase vegetation in the water. This causes a disruption in the river ecosystem. The extra vegetation and algae decreases the amount of sunlight that can reach part of the river bottom. All of this equates to fish and vertebrate struggling to reproduce or find food.

You can prevent pollutants from entering our waterways by simply picking up after your pet. If everyone does their small part, we can all enjoy clean water for years to come!