Pet Waste Is Affecting Water Quality In Halifax County

Pet waste is Affecting water qualiity in Halifax County, so what do we do about it?

What is the problem?  Scooping up behind your pet isn't just a courtesy for those walking behind you; it is also the healthy and environmentally sound thing to do.  Pet waste can be a significant source of water pollution.  When pet waste is not properly disposed, it can be carried by rain or snow run-off directly into nearby water bodies or into storm drains.  Storm drains in streets and neighborhoods usually flow directly to a stream, river, or estuary without any treatment.  Untreated animal fecal matter and wastes can become a source of harmful bacteria and nutrients in water.  Just as we don't want human sewage in our water, it is important to prevent pet waste from being carried into our waterways because of negligence. 

How bad is it?  Is it affecting our health?  People are at risk of getting sick from drinking or swimming in water contaminated by pet waste.  Dogs can be significant hosts of disease causing organisms, including Giardia and Salmonella, which are protozoan and bacterial infections transmitted to humans by animals.  As a result, fishing, swimming and other water activities could be limited or shut down due to bacteria contamination. 

The latest research  The environmental impact of dog waste has gone unrecognized for decades.  Researchers have been able to match bacteria found in water with animal types.  Technology has been developed that allows for fingerprinting of bacterial sources from the water source to the bacteria of specific animals.  the conclusion of these findings is that certain portions of the Lower Banister River have high concentrations of bacteria that warrant both concern and preventive measures.

This is where we can all take an active part. 

You can follow these easy steps to be part of the solution to pet waste contamination.

  1. The first step is to always carry a plastic bag with you when you walk your dog.  Re-using an old newspaper delivery bag or plastic grocery bag works well.
  2. Using the bag like a glove, you can then pick up the pet waste, turn the bag inside out around the waste, seal the bag, and  dispose of it in a trash can.  You can also flush un-bagged pet waste down the toilet
  3. Don't place the bagged or un-bagged pet waste in a storm drain or hose the pet waste towards storm drains as they drain directly to a stream, river, lake or other water body.
  4. If you have a large yard, you may bury un-bagged pet waste in the yard at least 5 inches in the ground and away from vegetable gardens and waterways.
  5. You can attend the Public Information meeting.  Find out more about the Town of Halifax's Pet Waste Disposal Project and ways to improve water qualty along the Banister River Watershed.


This meeting will be held at the Town of Halifax's Farmers' Market on Saturday - October 11, 2014 from 8 am to 12 noon.

For more information contact:          Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc.

Contact Name & Phone Number:      Bill Coleman - (434) 575-7916, Ext. 224