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Chesapeake Bay-Dog Waste Runoff


Chesapeake Bay is the most productive estuary in the United States, with more than 3,600 species of plants. But some of its major tributaries are getting polluted over time. Dog waste with a high amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus is a leading source of it. Research indicates that only 1gram of dog fecal matter has 23 million fecal coliform bacteria.

Though all the fecal matter doesn’t reach the surface water, one that is not appropriately scooped can run off into the watershed. In turn, it will disturb the natural composition of water leading to water pollution.


Dog Waste in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

The Chesapeake Bay and its several waterways are referred to as “impaired” by the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The same, pollution due to multiple factors, with pet and agriculture waste on top. The dog waste, either from your home garden, hike trails, or park, is also a part of this unsustainable practice.

It was estimated that a dog produces 0.75 lbs of waste in a day. Remember that 36% of United States houses have dogs in them. So, think about the waste. The one which is not cleaned up correctly leads to severe risks for humans and aquatic life.


Consequences Of Dog Fecal Runoff

The poop contains fecal bacteria and a high amount of Nitrogen and Phosphorus. This can pose significant risks to aquatic life and water quality. The runoff also affects the beaches, landscape of the bay, and watershed by:

  1. Endangerment Of Marine Life

The dirt of dog waste runoff water settles on the top layer of water and blocks sunlight from reaching the ground. In this case, the plants at the bottom are unable to make food through photosynthesis. Some herbivores dependent on the plants also suffer because of the polluted addition to water. Also, the homes of oysters and other marine animals are damaged.

  1. Effects On Water Quality

The runoff affects the quality of water, making it muddier. Also, there is a change in nutrient concentration of water with the addition of bacteria. It makes water polluted and unable to use and sometimes the water can be treated which takes time, is exhaustive, and expensive.

  1. Landscape Change

The depth of the stream can be altered due to runoff. The watershed is reshaped while losing its stability, which affects the banks of the stream.

  1. Algal Bloom

The nutrient increase may lead to the high growth of algae in the water. With a quick multiplication in number, they form blooms. It blocks the sunlight and prevents the oxygen from reaching the water. Hence, killing the aquatic animals due to oxygen depletion. Also, the secretions make the water harmful to use for recreational or drinking purposes.

These consequences also indicate the importance of poop scooping. The proper waste removal can cause a significant decrease in these issues, thus serving the environment and promoting sustainable living.


Diseases From Dog Feces – Associated Health Risks

The waste material of dogs can cause several risks for humans. These include:

  1. Intestinal Diseases Due To Bacteria And Viruses

The presence of bacteria and viruses in dog poop can cause intestinal diseases in humans. It might be due to direct contact or transmission through water. If you drink or ingest the contaminated water, it may lead to health issues due to the following micro-organisms.

  • Leptospira – This is a spirochete that can affect the mucosal surfaces, including the mouth, eye, and vagina. It causes severe infection in humans with musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, headache, and vomiting as its main symptoms.

  • E.Coli – It is a gram-negative bacterium that causes yersiniosis in humans. It impacts the mucosal surface of the intestine with symptoms of appendicitis.

  • Salmonella – It is a gram-negative bacteria that affects the large intestine. It may lead to diseases including gastroenteritis, bacteremia, enteric fever, and osteomyelitis.

  • Noroviruses – It is a virus causing epidemic gastroenteritis in humans. It transmits through water in humans and causes gastrointestinal tract issues.

  • Cryptosporidium and Giardia – These are parasites that can transfer to humans via infected water. It can lead to beaver fever and cryptosporidiosis in humans.

  • Campylobacter – It is a bacteria that can cause Campylobacteriosis in humans. The symptoms include cramping, pain in the abdominal region, fever, and diarrhea.

  • Cyclospora – It is an infection caused by parasites carried by water contaminated from a dog’s feces. It can lead to gastrointestinal issues in humans.

  1. Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The research indicates that dog waste is also high in bacteria that are resistant to various antibiotics. If transmitted to humans via water or any other source, they can cause severe illness which can’t be treated easily. The urban environment can become contaminated, leading to a public health hazard.

  1. Contamination Of Ground Water Drinking Supplies

The contamination of surface water also affects the groundwater of an area. It will be a hazard for areas or communities that entirely rely on groundwater for living. Also, it can lead to any disease outbreak making the situation a health risk.

  1. Food Safety Issues

Pathogens in water can also affect the food security of vegetables or plants grown in the garden. This affects public health due to exposure to contaminated water with growing plants, trees, and even food sources like fruits and vegetables.


What Can You Do?

From your side, proper disposal of your pet’s waste would be sufficient. You might have a lot of reasons to deny it. For example, “It’s smelly and not possible for me.” “It’ll dispose on its own.”, But trust us, none of these excuses is going to work when it comes to risks associated with improper cleanup.

So, if poop scooping is an unpleasant task for you, look for a dog waste removal service. Poop Genie can be a good one in this regard. This waste management company will aid in protecting you, your family, and the environment by proper disposal of waste.


Be a Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Scoop Your Dog’s Poop

In the end, we’d like to say that you can contribute to preventing the further degradation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It’s not only about you. It’s about the future generations and protecting our Earth. Do your part to ensure a sustainable future for your generation and the next.

Keywords:

Chesapeake Bay Watershed, algal blooms, diseases from dog feces, bacteria

References:


http://chesapeakestormwater.net/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2017/08/Pet-Waste-Report_final-1.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564131/#:~:text=Bacteria%20that%20are%20pathogens%20for,as%20Toxocara%20canis%20%5B6%5D.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319273/



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