First: Please know that we love our pets. This post is about human behavior, not pets!
Have you heard of the Poop Fairy? The first thing you should know about her is that she doesn’t exist. Many municipalities use the myth of the Poop Fairy in campaigns to remind residents that there is no magical way to make dog poop “go away”.
Just like with littering, some people may not realize the impact their behavior has on waterways, and some may simply not care. Some may even think it’s good to leave it to fertilize the grass.
Besides the immediate issues, like the fact that it looks bad, smells gross, and that unfortunate (and subsequently irate) people step in it, there are plenty of other reasons cities are campaigning to decrease the doo doo:
- Nutrients – Pet waste adds to nutrient pollution, which in turn increases algal blooms which block light for aquatic life and deplete the water of oxygen when it decays.
- Bacteria – E. coli, giardia, and salmonella.
- Parasites – Roundworms, hookworms, and cryptosporidium.
- It lasts – Dog poop doesn’t break down quickly because of the foods we feed them. It sticks around and builds up in parks, or washes down storm drains during rain events.
- It is concentrated – Any open space that has access to pets can become ground zero for these pollutants, especially in urban areas that have limited open space areas. With highly concentrated use, stormwater runoff from these areas is a toxic soup.
In short, research is showing that this is a significant part of urban pollution. The chart below shows the estimated amount of waste being left on the ground by dog owners in the city of Baltimore alone:
Stormwater in Baltimore washes dog waste (that’s thousands of tons per year) into storm drains, then streams like Herring Run or Jones Falls, and then Baltimore Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
The best methods for dealing with dog waste are to seal it in a bag and dispose of it in the regular trash, which bothers some because it might never break down in a landfill, or you could flush it so it will be treated along with other sewage. Cat waste, however, should not be flushed because a parasite common to felines, Toxoplasma Gondii, is not killed by regular sewage treatment methods.
Check out these sites for more info:
As reflected by the EPA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loads), Baltimore City has a very real trash problem. For a wide variety of socioeconomic reasons, litter is thrown on the streets or often tossed directly into storm drain catch basins. It could be because people simply don’t think about it, don’t care where their trash ends up, or perhaps they believe there is a magical filtration plant removing trash before it reaches waterways.
Litter in Baltimore Harbor – photo by Adam Lindquist
Broadcasting a message that compels people to change their behavior is a tricky task, but simple and straightforward is often the best way. Blue Water Baltimore has been helping neighborhoods paint their storm drains with slogans like, “A Healthy Harbor Starts Here” and “Trash in the Street Pollutes What We Eat” with paintings of fish, oysters, and, this is Baltimore after all… lots and lots of crabs!
Stenciled Storm Drain – from BWB’s website
It’s a clever idea and BWB could use your support to make these things happen — so check out their video below and click here if you’d like to support the Storm Drain Stencil Share.
The Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) will be hosting a one day seminar in Richmond, VA on March 19, 2013 called:
The Cost of Compliance: BMP Planning, Cost, and Maintenance.
Stormwater Maintenance & Consulting‘s own Ted Scott will be there to speak from experience about issues in the operation and maintenance of green stormwater infrastructure.
The seminar also includes many other speakers who will talk about how municipalities can plan, fund and maintain green infrastructure to meet their MS4 requirements. There will also be a round-table discussion with questions and suggestions by experts from around the state. More than 20 exhibitors will be there as well.
Click Here for Details and Full Schedule
Click Here to Register
This is the final video in the Chesapeake Stormwater Network series about Low Impact Development BMPs.
In it, experts (including SWM‘s Ted Scott and Bob Ferstler) talk about how to properly maintain bioretention facilities and what common problems to look for. There are also some warnings about what can go wrong when maintenance is not done properly.
Be sure to check out the other training materials available on CSN‘s website.
As engineers, we found this video to be quite fascinating. It dissects and answers an interesting question: How do trees transfer straight up – sometimes as much as 300 vertical feet?
Found on the Blue Water Baltimore Facebook page. While you are clicking become a member and support clean water in Baltimore. It doesn’t take much – twenty-five bucks gets you in.
The next installment of Chesapeake Stormwater Network‘s video series has been released! This video is about inspecting LID stormwater practices.
Viewers will learn about the common problems inspectors find in bioretention facilities, bioswales and permeable pavement. Inspections can be done by contractors hired by a facility owner who would like to keep their facility in good working order, or by a municipality checking for functionality and compliance.
Stormwater Maintenance, LLC is excited to see the release of this three-video series on Stormwater BMP Maintenance.
Why?? Because we’re in them! But also because they help the public learn more about Low Impact Development methods of stormwater management.
This first video is about proper construction techniques. In it, SWM, LLC’s Ted Scott talks about how a bioretention facility is supposed to work and about diagnosing what went wrong after a facility fails. Ted and others from SWM, LLC will be featured in the next two videos as well.
The Chesapeake Stormwater Network works to train anyone who needs to know about stormwater including members of local governments, construction contractors, or homeowners.
CSN worked with the Center for Watershed Protection to produce these videos with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Walmart, and the Keith Campbell Foundation.
Be sure to share this wealth of knowledge with others through Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media.
Tickets are on sale for the 5th Annual Trash Bash!
Hosted by Blue Water Baltimore, the Trash Bash is a popular fundraiser that is all about food, live music, and fun.
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Time: 12pm – 5pm
Where: Nick’s Fish House, 2600 Insulator Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21230
- Grille, pasta and veggie fare
- Beer, wine, plus a signature cocktail
- Reusable keepsake glass
- Live music
- Silent auction and raffles
- All with a waterfront view
Blue Water Baltimore’s mission is clean water. They run programs that approach the problem of water pollution from many angles:
- Education and outreach to youth and communities
- Helping community groups, churches, schools and businesses with their own clean water initiatives
- Helping homeowners purchase and install rain barrels and/or rain gardens
- Trash pickup events
- Tree plantings
- Pavement reduction
- Legislative advocacy
- Baltimore Harbor’s Waterkeeper
- Storm drain art and stenciling (to remind the public not to dump waste into storm drains)
- Herring Run Nursery
But that’s not all they do! Visit their website to learn more.
Help support BWB by buying a ticket and having a good time at Trash Bash 2012.
Ted Scott will be the Keynote presenter at the Ohio Stormwater Conference. He will be discussing the state of Stormwater in 2012 including: past efforts to address stormwater issues, current trends, and a look toward the challenges that lie ahead.