Loudoun County’s wtaer quality continues to experience degradation and stormwater pollution is one of the major contributing factors. Stormwater results when rainfall and snowmelt is unable to naturally soak into the ground because of paved or otherwise solid surfaces, such as roads, rooftops and sidewalks. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants and flow directly to a stream, river, lake, wetland or into a storm drain. Anything that enters a storm drain in Loudoun County is duscharged untreated into the Chesapeake Bay.
Pet waste is one of the major sources of stormwater pollution and stream impairment in Loudoun County. Pet waste contains pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms which can be transmitted to humans who are gardening in contaminated soils or who are recreating in infected waters.
- Bacteria such as fecal coliform and E. Coli can make the waters unfit for irrigation, recreation, drinking or other uses.
- Parasitic worms can spread gastrointestinal illnesses in humans such as Salmonella, Giardia, etc.
Pet waste also contains nutrients that can cause excess vegetation growth in aquatic environments, which is unsightly and depletes the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to live.
When pet waste is not properly disposed, it can wash into nearby streams or be carried by runoff into storm drains. These storm drains do not connect to treatment facilities. Instead, they drain directly into our streams and ponds, which are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Pet owners can help protect human health and the environment by picking up pet waste, bagging it and disposing of it in the trash.