MSD PHASE II STORM WATER PROGRAM
Is there a problem with pet waste? YES!! Water sampling of streams in all of the St. Louis area watersheds has found elevated bacteria in 100% of the wet weather samples!
Significant sources of bacteria are from pets, humans and wildlife. Studies have found that urban storm water contains significant quantities of bacteria from nonhuman sources.
Dog and cat feces must be handled carefully because it contains bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can infect humans and cause serious illness.
Always wash your hands after handling pet waste. Do NOT place pet waste in compost piles or around vegetable gardens where the pathogens can contaminate the food products.
Acceptable pet waste management options for pet owners include:
* Put waste in a sealed bag and place in the trash.
* Flush down the toilet (Do not flush plastic bags or kitty litter).
* Bury waste in soil at least 6 inches deep, but do not bury it in your garden!
* Minimize pollution by having pets defecate in tall grass (greater than 4 inches) located away from storm inlets since the grass acts as a filter and allows for natural decomposition.
COMPLY with VILLAGE and COUNTY ordinances.
A few more facts....
Dogs are major contributors to pet waste in our environment. However, all pets contribute to the problem. The estimated number of dogs and cats in the St. Louis area is 700,000. The amount of feces produced by these pets is estimated to be equivalent to the sewage produced by a large municipality. Studies from other cities have indicated that only ONE THIRD of people who walk their dogs do not pick up after them. YIKES!
Is it wise to dump your lawn clippings in the creek or in the gutter? If yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, weeds, pruning, brush, and small twigs that are naturally found around the home, are disposed of along a creek or in the storm drain it can impact our water quality.
Yard waste decaying in creeks and rivers decomposes in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic life can't survive in water with low oxygen. As yard waste decomposes, plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are also released. These nutrients promote the excessive growth of algae in the water. As the water becomes polluted, it does not support the aquatic life and becomes a health hazard.
Leaves and woody debris naturally accumulate in streams and creeks. However, when you collect and dispose of yard waste along creek banks, the added yard waste covers the ground and keeps out natural vegetation that helps to stabilize the bank. This practice leads to increased erosion and sedimentation that clouds creek water and destroys habitat for aquatic life.
Dumping your yard waste in the storm inlets has the same impact. It all ends up in the nearest stream, creek or river.
what can you do?
* Never allow yard waste to be washed down or put into the storm drains.
*Do not sweep or blow grass clippings along the street or into a storm drain.
*Do not dump grass or yard waste onto a creek bank or area where it will be washed into creeks and rivers.
*Compost your leaves, brush, grass clippings and other yard wastes.
*Control erosion on your property by planting native trees and ground cover to stabilize erosion-prone areas.