Scoop the Poop

Scoop the Poop

Scoop the Poop

Pet Waste and Water Quality: It’s Not Just on the Lawn, It’s in Your Water

What is the problem?

Scooping your pooch’s poop isn’t just a courtesy for those walking behind you; it is also the healthy and environmentally sound thing to do. Pet waste can be a significant source of water pollution. When pet waste is not properly disposed, it can be carried by rainwater runoff directly into nearby waterbodies or into storm drains. Storm drains in streets and neighborhoods flow directly to a stream, river, or estuary without any treatment. Untreated animal fecal matter and wastes are a source of harmful bacteria and nutrients in water. Just as we don’t want human sewage in our water, it is important to prevent pet waste from being carried into our waterways because of negligence.

Are you risking your health?
People are at risk of getting sick from drinking or swimming in water contaminated by pet waste. Dogs can be significant hosts of disease causing organisms, including giardia and Salmonella, which are protozoan and bacterial infections transmitted to humans by animals. Our beaches in Virginia Beach have been closed due to bacteria contamination and 60% of the Lynnhaven River is closed to shellfish harvest because of bacterial contamination.

The latest research
The environmental impact of dog waste has gone unrecognized for decades. Scientists recently developed a new lab technique of fingerprinting DNA to match bacteria found in the water to the bacteria from specific animals, including humans and domestic animals. Using this type of forensic science, scientists have found that dogs are a significant contributor of harmful bacteria in our waterways.

Other neighborhood water pollutants
Dog waste is only one of many pollutants from our neighborhoods that add to water pollution. Lawn fertilizers, motor oil, driveway sand and salt, and soapy water from washing cars in driveways commonly end up in our streams, lakes and rivers.

What you can do:You can follow these easy steps to be part of the solution to pet waste contamination.1.  The first step is to always carry a plastic bagwith you when you walk your dog. Re-using an old newspaper delivery bag or plastic grocery bag works well.2.  Using the bag like a glove, you can then pick up the pet waste, turn the bag inside out around the waste, seal the bag, and dispose of it in a trash can. You can also flush un-bagged pet waste down the toilet.3.  Don’t place the bagged or un-bagged pet waste in a storm drain or hose the pet waste towards storm drains as they drain directly to a stream, river, lake or other water body.4.  Cleaning up after your pets in your own yard is as important as cleaning up after them in public places.

Spread the word

Tell friends and neighbors about the effect of animal waste on the environment and our health. Encourage them to clean up after their pets and to dispose of the pet waste properly.

For a printable version of this page, click here.


March 2018

VA Coastal Voices: Protect Our Coast

March 1, 2018
06:00 PM - 07:30 PM

 Community Meeting on Offshore Drilling

Thursday, March 1, 6:00-7:30 PM
Virginia Beach Convention Center, Salon 1
Find out why it is so important for everyone to speak out on offshore drilling.  We will help you to submit your comments to BOEM.
Speakers include:
Councilman John Uhrin; Dr. Susan Barco, Virginia Aquarium Senior Scientist; Bev Ludford, Pleasure House Oysters; and Laura Wood Habr, BAPAC, Resort Area Commission and local business owner.Come at 5:15 and visit the Virginia Green Tourism Expo before the meeting.See you there!

image (3)

Waterway Cleanup

March 10, 2018
09:00 AM - 12:00 PM

March 10 9am-noon at Francis Land House

To register to participate in a waterway cleanup please email or call (757) 962-5398

Click on Waterway Cleanups for additional information

LRN Program Partners Meeting

March 12, 2018
04:00 PM - 06:00 PM

We are looking forward to our two spring LRNow Partners Meetings on Monday, March 12th and Monday, May 14th.  Both meetings will be held at the Brock Environmental Center and start at 4:00 PM.

Stewardship & Access Committee Meeting

March 21, 2018
06:00 PM - 08:00 PM

This committee meets at 6 pm on the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings are held at Hot Tuna  at 2817 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451. November and December meeting schedules may be adjusted to accommodate winter holidays. Check Facebook or website calendar for changes.