Spring 2019 - April Stools' & Scoop the Poop
Stay tuned for more 2019 event details!
LCC and community organizations are teaming up on clean-up events in Burlington and South Burlington, Williston, St. Alban's, Winooski, and other locations around the watershed. Check back for further details soon. Contact LCC ECO AmeriCorps Education & Outreach Coordinator Laura Pratt if you'd like to help organize an April Stools' Day event in your town or neighborhood.
Yes, dog doo is gross! Especially if you step in it. What's worse is that pet poop left behind on trails and in our parks enters streams, rivers, and Lake Champlain - which nearly 200,000 people rely on for their drinking water.
LCC doggedly urges citizens to take action by lending a hand at April Stools' and Scoop the Poop days to clean up parks and trails and protect waterways!
Gloves, bags, trowels, pails, and hand sanitizer will be provided. We’ll be picking up pet poop and any litter we find along the way.
If you can't make a clean-up. . .
If a clean-up isn't scheduled nearby or you can't make the date you can still lend a hand. Whenever you have time, head out to your favorite park, trail or neighborhood with gloves, plastic bags and a sturdy trowel and help scoop the poop. Wear a safety vest if working near roadways. Pet poop should be deposited in the garbage along with any other trash you find during your outings.
The Scoop on Dog Poop
Besides the foul smell and the unpleasantness of stepping in hound mounds, pet poop is bad for waterways, lawns and people. Pet waste carries nutrients that feed the growth of weeds and algae in the water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that two or three days' worth of droppings from just 100 dogs contributes enough bacteria to temporarily close a waterbody to swimming and fishing. Woof-waste doesn't make good fertilizer; it burns grass, leaves unsightly discoloring, and takes more than a year to break down.
Dog poop differs from wild animal scat, which fertilizes the earth and helps spread native seeds. Wild animals are consuming food within the ecosystem where they poop, so there is no net loss or gain of nutrients. Dogs, on the other hand, are fed a high nutrient diet from a bag. Those excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus can throw the ecosystem out of balance when they’re introduced in dog doo, and that instability provides a welcoming environment for invasive species on land and can trigger algae growth and cyanobacteria blooms in the water.
- When pet waste washes into lakes or streams it decays, using up oxygen and degrading water quality.
- Dog waste contains 23-million fecal coliform bacteria per gram, 10-times more per pound of body weight than even cows produce.
- Pets are responsible for up to one-third of bacterial pollution in waterways near developed areas.
- Ten to fifty percent of bacteria in air samples comes from feces with dog poop being a particularly dominant source.
- Pet waste takes a year or more to breakdown. Even after that the parasites can survive in the soil for years.
- Infected pet poop can carry roundworms and other parasites and pathogens (like cryptosporidium, giardia, salmonella, E. coli, and other fecal coliform bacteria) which can linger in soil for years. Anyone gardening, playing sports, walking barefoot, or digging in the infected dirt risks becoming infected. Children are most susceptible since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths.
What do you do with the poop?
Pick It Up
Whether you’re at home or on a walk, don't leave pet waste lying around. Take a bag (preferably a biodegradable one) with you on your outings and pick up the poop you find on sidewalks, trails, and parks. Your actions will help protect our waterways.
According to local public works officials, bagging your dog poop and throwing it away is the best way to deal with it. The dog poop will safely break down in the landfill, and its methane gas can be burned for energy recapture. You can purchase compostable doggie bags to avoid using plastic.
Burying small amounts of dog waste in your yard will allow soil micro-organisms to break it down while keeping the poop from being washed away by the next rainstorm. Dig a one-foot deep hole and fill it with three inches of dog waste and cover it with at least eight inches of soil. The waste can be deposited in multiple locations around your yard but keep them far away from waterways and your vegetable garden. You can also buy a mini pet septic system or create your own!
Don’t flush pet waste down the toilet as too often bags get flushed along with the feces. Even biodegradable bags will damage the wastewater treatment facility’s equipment, and the parasite associated with toxoplasmosis (which is found in cat poop) can survive the water treatment process.