How Green is Your Pawprint?
A lone canoe makes it's way across white rock lake in dallas, texas
(Photo by Erica Eason-Hall, Sgt. Poopers Co-Founder)
If you live in Dallas-Fort Worth, you live in the Upper Trinity River Watershed – a broad depression that collects rain and run off, which eventually drains into the Trinity River. Though overlooked in past decades, environmentalists have realized that dog waste creates serious water quality issues. Waste accumulates on lawns and sometimes streets and sidewalks where rain may readily wash it into storm drains and into the nearest stream, creek or lake.
The problem is the bacteria and viruses contained in dog waste. These bugs can generate disease in humans, pets and other animals. Human illnesses caused by the ingestion of fecal coliform include dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever and ear infections. And in no small way, your pet's health may also be at risk by coming into contact with dog waste on the ground. Pet waste also contains excessive nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth in lakes and streams.
Hidden in the midst of North Central Texas is a sprawling metropolis with a population of 1.2 million. It’s as large as DFW, but without a single flushing toilet. That’s right, it's comparable to the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States but is completely devoid of any sewer system. Unfortunately, the story is not fiction. The catch: its inhabitants all walk on four legs: dogs. And every day they add some 900,000 pounds of solid waste onto the land. This "non-source-point pollution" contaminates the local watershed flowing untreated into local creeks, lakes, and the Trinity River every time it rains.
Perhaps future generations may look back with the same kind of apprehension we feel toward medieval world when streets ran with raw sewage. To wit: “What were they thinking?”
What you can do
Owners who take their dogs for walks should pick up after any waste and not leave it on the ground where it can wash from storm drains and directly into the nearest waterway without treatment.
And even more important, let Sgt Poopers® clean up dog waste in your yard weekly — before it is washed into waterways by the rain. Clean yards, clean water, clean shoes. That’s an ideal recipe for a green paw print.