Pet waste is not a fertilizer, rather it is filled with harmful nutrients and bacteria that can be toxic to people, pets, and wildlife. Improperly disposed of animal waste can be carried in stormwater to nearby lakes and streams where it will cause significant water pollution.
Another source of unnatural levels of fecal matter in Rochester's waterways comes from Canada Geese. The popular practice of feeding the geese at Silver Lake is highly discouraged. Geese are not meant to eat corn or bread and these human foods can cause health issues for the animals. Feeding the geese also leads to more geese and more goose poop in the lake, plus a greater chance of disease spreading through the flock. One goose will produce three pounds of waste each day, adding fecal coliform bacteria and excess nutrient pollution to our surface waters.
Decomposing animal waste harms aquatic environments by:
- consuming oxygen from the water which can suffocate aquatic life
- releasing ammonia into the water
- introducing pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Salmonella, and E.coli
- increasing nutrients that promote weed growth
- causing algae blooms, some of which can be toxic to people and pets
Simple actions to prevent animal waste from contaminating our lakes and streams include:
- picking up after your pet and dispose of waste in the trash
- carrying poop bags when out on walks
- not feeding wildlife