You Can Make a Difference
It may not seem that Fido’s leavings in your backyard could harm water quality in a local stream, but pet waste is a common contributor to water quality problems in local water ways.
One of the problems pet waste causes is high fecal coliform bacteria concentrations in streams. Fecal coliform bacteria are found in human and animal waste, which can also carry other bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli and Salmonella, viruses, and parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. High fecal coliform bacteria concentrations are an indicator of poor water quality and present significant health hazards for stream uses such as swimming and wading.
When pet waste enters a body of water it can cause other problems as well. Waste that is washed into streams is broken down by aerobic bacteria that use up oxygen in the water as they work, which causes dissolved oxygen levels to decrease. Low dissolved oxygen levels negatively affect aquatic organisms including fish. Fecal matter also contains phosphorous and nitrogen which act as a fertilizer to algae and plant growth. When algae and plants get these nutrients in abundance they thrive. Too much algae and too many plants in an aquatic ecosystem can lead to a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels as plants and algae die and are broken down aerobically.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help keep our streams clean and healthy.
On a Walk
Clean up after your pet using one of Marysville'spet waste disposal stations located around the city. Just tear a bag out of the station's dispenser, place the bag on your hand, pick up the pet waste, reverse the bag, tie it in a knot and place it in a disposal station receptacle or garbage can.
If receptacle is not in the area, the solution is as simple as taking a plastic bag or paper cup along on your next walk. The City of Marysville also has FREE pet waste pick up bags available at the Public Works Office. Call Surface Water Management at (425)363-8100 for more information.