Your Green Life: "Pet Waste"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

Posted by Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson

Taking your dog for an afternoon walk is an excellent way to get outside and exercise, but did you know that not picking up after your pet can pollute your own drinking supply. In this week's "Your Green Life" Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson will take a look at the issues with pet waste.

With a growing pet population across the Northland, we are also seeing an increased amount of pet waste in our public places.

"Well if you don't pick up after your pets, that pet waste breaks down and washes off the land into the storm sewer system which leads to our streams and Lake Superior or the St. Louis River" said Chris Kleist at the City of Duluth.

By not cleaning up after your pet its waste can end up in our drinking supply. So what is in the pet waste that makes it so harmful to the environment?

"Pet waste contains nitrogen and phosphorus which are both chemicals in fertilizer" says Chris.

Also, according to Chris Kleist at the City of Duluth; the phosphorus can create algae blooms in the streams which can consume more oxygen in the water. This will cause a reduction of trout in local streams.
What else makes it harmful to the drinking supply?

"There is all kinds of bacteria; Giadara caliform viruses, a whole host of things that can make us sick. That water goes into our storm system that is untreated" said Chris.

In addition, whether your are at home or at a dog park with your pet its best for the environment to pick up after them.

"The best way is a plastic bag, preferably the larger size bag, either a ziplock or the Mutt Mitts that we have at some of our city parks and the Lakewalk. Pick it up, tie the bag off and put it in the garbage, is probably the best way" said Chris.

By doing this simple, but unpleasant task you can help to keep our drinking water clean and...pet waste free.

In Duluth, I'm Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson; The Northlands NewsCenter.