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What's the problem with pet waste?

It's a health risk to pets and people, especially children. It's a nuisance in our neighborhoods. Pet waste is full of bacteria that can make people sick. It gets washed from lawns, curbs and fields into the storm drain. It then ends up in a lake, stream or the Hudson River without being treated first. Bacteria ends up in the water and fish. People who swim in that water or eat those fish can get very sick. The nutrients from the waste can cause excess algae to grow. Algae looks bad, smells bad, and harms water quality. As algae decays, the process uses up oxygen in the water that fish need.

Clean Water Tips:

How can you get rid of pet waste and help keep our waters clean? Here are some options.


• Never dump pet waste in storm drains, catch basins or bodies of water.

• Scoop it up and flush it down the toilet. That's best because then your community sewage treatment plant or your septic system treats the pet waste.

• Seal the waste in a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage, or bury small quantities in your yard (away from vegetable gardens) where it can decompose slowly. (This is legal in most areas, but check local laws.)

• If your community does not require you to remove pet waste, see what you can do to raise awareness and perhaps enact a "pooper-scoopcr" law.

To find out more about the problems of pet waste and what you can do to prevent water pollution, call the Dutchess County Soil and

Water Conservation District at (845) 677-8011 ext. 3, or visit their website at

Special thanks to the Dutchess County Water Quality Strategy Committee and the Hudson Valley Regional Council.

This information is brought to you by the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District. Established in 1945, the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District has been working with individuals for over 50 years to coordinate state and federal conservation programs at a local level. The District provides technical assistance and education on soil, water, and related natural resources. Municipalities, fanners, and landowners use this information in making proper land use decisions.

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