Dog Poop and Fecal Bacteria

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 10:24pm
  • Did you know that the fecal bacteria count in the Little Falls Branch is dangerously high?

  • Did you know that dog wastes contributes significantly to the count?

  • Did you know that by scooping the poop and disposing of it in your toilet or trash can, you can make a difference!

Dog Poop has been on a lot of people's mind lately!  It seems like snow brings out the worse in us and no one wants to pick it up.  We all know no one wants to step it it, but there are environmental considerations too. Yes, it is organic and it does break down, but the ground can only absorb so much. The rest is washed off the yards, out of the woods and into the creek.

The average dog produces almost 300 pounds of poop a year. That's a lot to step in, but also a lot of pollution. According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection: 

Pet waste contains bacteria and parasites, as well as organic matter and nutrients, notably nitrogen and phosphorous.

Some of the diseases that can be spread from pet waste are:

  • Campylobacteriosis- a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea in humans.
  • Salmonellosis- the most common bacterial infection transmitted to humans from animals. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Toxocarisis- roundworms transmitted from animals to humans. Symptoms include vision loss, rash, fever, or cough.
     

In addition to these diseases, the organic matter and nutrients contained in pet waste can degrade water quality. When pet waste is washed into a surface water body, the waste decays. This process of breaking down the organic matter in the waste uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels, increased ammonia and warm summer water temperatures can kill fish.

Excess phosphorous and nitrogen added to surface waters can lead to cloudy, green water from accelerated algae and weed growth. Decay of this extra organic matter can depress oxygen levels, killing organisms. Objectionable odors can also occur.

You can make a difference for clean water and clean shoes by scooping the poop. A simple plastic bag full of poop in the trash, or even better, flushed down your toilet keeps fecal bacteria out of the creek.