Waste from pets, livestock, and wildlife are significant sources of water pollution in some areas. Animal waste contains high concentrations of nutrients and bacteria.
When used properly, some animal waste such as cow and horse manure, can be a great fertilizer. If untreated animal waste gets into our waterways, it can cause problems with the nutrient build up and bacteria that it contains.
A number of water-borne diseases can be transmitted to humans from animal waste. The bacteria levels in rural and urban areas are usually higher than those in commercial or industrial areas. The animals kept in these areas might be a cause of the higher bacteria counts.
High level of nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium that make it a good fertilizer can also cause problems when it gets into our waterways. These elevated nutrient levels can cause excessive plant and algae growth which can cause further problems.
Things You Can Do
- Dispose wrapped waste in the trash or unwrapped waste in the toilet.
- Do not feed wild animals such as geese and ducks in public areas as many municipalities have rules against feeding wildlife.
- Many municipalities have laws to enforce the clean up of pet waste. Never discard pet waste into a storm drain.
- Try using newspaper or other biodegradable material to pick up waste, or use a reusable item such as a pooper-scooper or shovel.