Pet owners within the Lake Worth Drainage District (LWDD) should always pick up after their pets and dispose of the pet waste in household trash or in a designated container. Pet waste doesn’t just decompose and go away. It adds harmful bacteria and nutrients to local waters when it’s not disposed of properly. Pet waste should not be left on the ground and should never be put into storm drains, canals or other waterbodies.
When it rains, pet waste dissolves and can flow into stormwater management systems contributing to water pollution that can degrade water quality. The waste also causes excess nutrients which may create algae blooms and decrease oxygen levels in the water. This condition has an adverse effect on fish and other aquatic life. If not disposed of properly, pet waste not only affects water quality, but public health. The pathogens (bacteria, parasites and viruses) found in pet waste can make people ill. Pet waste can also make local waters non-swimmable and unfishable.
Pet owners should remember to:
- Always clean up after your animals.
- Use bags or scoopers to pick up waste.
- Dispose of waste in pet waste containers or in your household trash.
- Do not put pet waste into storm drains or on the road.
- When traveling, carry extra bags in the car to have on hand to clean up after your pet.
- Remind other pet owners to pick up after their pet.
- Avoid letting your pet do his business within 200 feet of a water body.
Pet waste is seemingly a small source of pollution but over time it can add up to big problems for water quality, and even human health.