Pet Waste and Water Quality
Dogs are a vital part of many families. In Minnesota, about one in three households owns a dog. With more than two million households in the state, that adds up to a lot of pooches—and a lot of poop. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, on average one dog produces about 274 pounds of waste each year. Now multiply that by hundreds of thousands of dogs. You can see why it’s so important for people to responsibly clean up their own pets’ mess.
Pet waste left in the environment does not simply disappear. Rainfall and spring snowmelt washes dog poop off lawns, sidewalks, and other surfaces. It is carried directly into the nearest body of water. Waste left atop the ice sinks right into lakes, creeks, and wetlands. Bacteria and parasites found in pet waste pose a threat to the health of people and wildlife. Decaying pet waste also adds nutrients to the water, feeding bacteria that consume oxygen needed by aquatic plants and animals. That’s why pet waste contributes so significantly to water pollution, especially in urban watersheds like ours.
In 2015, the city of Minnetonka will initiate a pet waste reduction campaign. We hope to educate residents about the relationship between pet waste and water quality, and to encourage neighborly, environmentally responsible behavior among pet owners. For more information on Minnetonka’s pet waste clean-up efforts, visit eminnetonka.com or contact the city’s Natural Resources division at 952-988-8407.
You can help every day by simply bagging pet waste and depositing it in a proper trash receptacle. Picking up after your pet protects our environment—but it is also about being a good neighbor. Doo your part!