Did you know that Pierce County is home to more than 206,000 dogs? That translates to more than 68,000 pounds, or 34 tons, of dog waste every single day. Pet waste contains harmful organisms like E.coli, Giardia, and roundworms that can be transmitted to people and pets if not cleaned up and properly disposed. When it rains, harmful bacteria from pet waste travels to nearby streams and storm drains. You can protect yourself, your pets and the environment by picking up pet waste, bagging it and putting it in the trash.
Landfills are designed to handle pet waste safely. Yards, trails, streets, parks, toilets, and compost piles are not. Remember to take a bag with you on walks, or use the dog waste stations in common areas. At home, daily pick up is best.
The Problem with Pet Waste: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the problem with pet waste?
Pet waste is a health risk to people, especially children. It is full of bacteria that can make people sick. Some of these organisms can survive in the soil for years. Children who play in the yard and adults who garden are most at risk of infection. Pet waste contains roundworms, E.coli, giardia and many other microorganisms that can be transmitted to people.
If it's washed through storm drains and into a lake, stream or Puget Sound, the bacteria can end up in fish and shellfish. People who eat contaminated shellfish or drink the water can get very sick.
Can I use pet waste as compost or fertilizer?
NO. Pet waste left on the ground or put in a compost pile can contain harmful organisms. Most compost piles do not get hot enough to kill the bacteria and other organisms in dog and cat waste. The safest method is to pick it up, bag it, and put it in the trash.
Can I flush pet waste down the toilet?
NO. Do not flush pet waste down the toilet. Animal waste contains different pathogens than humans and is not fully treated in the wastewater treatment process. According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, bacteria from dog poop can end up in shellfish. People who eat those shellfish can get very sick. The bacteria can also make water unsafe to drink or to swim in. Nutrients from dog poop can also feed the growth of aquatic plants and algae. As these decay, they use up oxygen in the water that fish and other aquatic life need.
Free Dog Waste Stations Available
If your neighborhood has a dog waste problem in a common area like a community park, green belt or open space you could qualify for a free dog waste station!
While supplies last, Pierce County will provide a free dog waste station for your neighborhood. Learn more and apply to be a sponsor. Thank you for keeping our neighborhoods and waterways clean! To be eligible for a free waste station, you must live in unincorporated Pierce County.Learn more
Scoop it. Bag it. Trash it. Puget Sound Starts Here.