Pet waste that is left on sidewalks,
roads, driveways, parks and yards can mix with rainfall and snowmelt
and travel to storm
drains and surface waters causing pollution and an increased
risk of disease.
It may be difficult to picture how one dog or cat depositing
a small amount of animal waste here and there can result in potential
water pollution, but studies have shown that the cumulative impact
of waste from all the pets, livestock, and resident waterfowl
within a watershed can have a significant impact on water quality
and may also cause human health risks.
up after your pet. When going for walks with your dog, bring
along a plastic bag and scooper. Pet waste should also
be removed daily from your yard. How should you dispose of
it? No solution is perfect, but here are a few choices:
of solid waste and used cat litter in the trash. Seal it securely
in a plastic bag. While this transfers
the problem to a landfill, it does protect the larger watershed
area from potential pollution.
solid waste down the toilet. Do NOT flush leaves, sticks,
debris or cat litter down the toilet!
the waste in a proper spot in your yard about five inches
below the ground surface (the upper soil layer is the biologically
is to install an in-ground pet waste disposal system that works much
like a septic tank (this requires a deep hole).
is not recommended in areas with poor drainage and high water tables
(within 18 to 30 inches from the surface). It is also not an
effective option when
temperatures drop below 40 degrees F.
Gilbert Stuart Road Demonstration site
Never locate burial areas near
water well, surface waters, storm drains or vegetable gardens.
larger yards, you can train your dog to use natural woodland
areas where grass
is not frequently mowed (left at least 4 inches tall).
The waste will naturally decompose as long as it is not at a
risk of mixing
and traveling with stormwater runoff. Do not rely on “natural
are located near surface waters, drinking water wells,
or vegetable gardens.
dog yards and dog runs should never be located near a
water well or
immediately upslope of a surface water body. Ideally,
the area should be fairly level and well-vegetated and
located away from vegetable gardens
and children’s play areas. Solid
waste should be collected and disposed of using the options
feed the waterfowl! It encourages a higher number of
birds than natural food
supplies can support. These large flocks of birds also
deposit large quantities of waste in and around surface
For more information on reducing runoff
Healthy Landscapes page reducing runoff
RI Stormwater Solutions