What to Doo about Pet Waste
By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee
One of the actions we can do to protect our lake is pick up after our dogs. Some estimates have an average dog generating ¾ of a pound of waste per day, or 270 pounds per year. Studies also indicate that only 60% of pet owners pick up their pet’s waste. The EPA has indicated 2-3 days of waste from 100 dogs could generate enough pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous and bacteria such as E. Coli) to close a beach, and affect the watershed for 20 miles.
In researching this article, I found some interesting facts. Most pet owners know that if the waste is left on the lawn, it will not fertilize but will kill the grass. It is also estimated that dog waste can take up to one year to completely breakdown. The natural ecosystem can only process and absorb the waste from two average dogs per square mile. If the ecosystem cannot absorb the waste fast enough, the bacteria and nutrients will be carried by rain into the watershed, and ultimately any body of water nearby (like our lake).
What can you do? The most common option is to pick it up with a plastic bag (like a grocery bag) and throw into the trash. There are biodegradable bags available, but I found pros and cons to this approach. A “green” option is composting. Here again, use proper methods because the compost bin must generate enough heat to destroy the bacteria present in the waste. It is recommended the composted pet waste not be applied to plants that will be eaten or be brought in to the home for decoration.
So if we “doo” the right thing, we can help reduce another controllable source of pollution to our lake. But don’t forget, a barking dog is a good deterrent for the Canadian geese that are also part of the problem.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE