Dog Waste and Human Health

Let’s face it, nobody likes to pick up dog waste. But the truth is that unscooped dog waste presents serious issues for water quality and human health.

WaterPro and Draper City have long worked together to protect the Corner Canyon watershed from contamination by dog waste. We would like to thank all those Draper residents and visitors who respect the watershed and its dog-free zones – it has made a difference in the quality of the water, although there is still room for improvement.

However, dog waste is not just a problem in the watershed. It can even be a serious health hazard in your own back yard! The following information comes from Salt Lake County’s Stream Care Guide.

The facts

  • Pet waste is raw sewage. It can transmit bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens to humans and other animals, including tapeworm, roundworm, E. coli, giardia, salmonella, and more.
  • Four out of ten U.S. households have at least one dog, and four out of ten dog owners don’t pick up after their dogs.
  • Unscooped poop in yards, parks, and sidewalks gets into our lakes, streams, and rivers, and even into groundwater.
  • Nutrients in pet waste cause excess algae in lakes and streams. This limits the light available to aquatic plants. Also, as algae decays it uses oxygen that fish need.
  • Nine waterways in Salt Lake County have unhealthy levels of E. coli: Emigration Creek, Parleys Creek, lower Mill Creek, lower Big Cottonwood Creek, lower Little Cottonwood Creek, Rose Creek, Bingham Creek, Midas Creek, and the Jordan River.

What you can do

  • Scoop weekly to keep your yard clean. Backyard dog waste is a big problem.
  • Keep your dog on leash, then stoop and scoop that poop. Every time.
  • Bring baggies when you walk your dog, plus extras to share.
  • Seal the bags and toss them in the trash. Don’t leave them trailside!
  • Never use pet waste in your garden or compost. It is not a natural fertilizer.