Preventing Pollution from Pet Waste

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Pet waste contains harmful bacteria, which can contaminate water and make people and pets sick. Pet owners might be surprised to learn that in Snohomish County alone, dogs produce more than 63 tons of poop every day!

Pet Waste Problem 

 All that pet waste can harbor 135 trillion harmful fecal bacteria -- including E. coli, giardia, parvovirus, worms and other pathogens. Water quality studies show that many of the rivers and streams that run through our neighborhoods and cities now have high levels of bacterial pollution.

When fecal bacteria levels are high:

  • People and pets are more exposed to infectious diseases
  • Waterways can become unsafe for swimming or fishing
  • Shellfish beds are closed to harvesting
  • Other aquatic life can be endangered


 Your trash goes to a landfill, which is designed to keep waste contained and out of our streams and lakes.  

Pet Waste Solution

For healthy people, pets and waterways, AVOID these less effective methods:

  • Composting: Yard waste bins and compost piles do not get hot enough to kill harmful organisms.
  • Flushing waste down the toilet: This method is generally not practical and if you are on a septic system, this can overload it.
  • Burying waste or using anaerobic digesters: These allow pathogens and excess nutrients to seep into the soil -- contaminating our soil, groundwater and streams.