The City of Austin is currently working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to improve drinking water quality in Austin. Fecal bacteria contamination is a major concern.
Many creeks in Austin flow into Lake Austin which is where much of the city's drinking water actually comes from. While the fecal waste of dogs getting washed away into the streams is certainly not the main source of the problem, it is still a problem nonetheless.
Other than pet owners that do not pick up after their dogs, the problem also comes from leaking waste pipes, wildlife waste, and the waste of homeless people who defecate near the streams.
The City of Austin plans to educate dog owners about the importance of picking up their dog's waste. They also plan to enforce more rules regarding the proper disposal of pet waste at parks.
Many dog owners are unaware of the fact that dog poop is not a "good fertilizer". It is a common misconception that dog waste is natural and it's fine to leave it on the ground. This is untrue and dog poop is actually a harmful pollutant that can make people and other animals sick. The waste is washed away by rain into our drinking water and it contains harmful bacteria and possibly even parasites sometimes.
Picking up after your dog is simple and there are a number of pet products available to help with the dirty task. Dog owners can help the environment by carrying disposable dog waste bags with them at all times during walks. There are even companies like PoopBuddy that will deliver a monthly supply of dog waste bags to your home each month. That way, you'll never run out.
Don't want to carry a bag of dog waste around while you're out walking? There are a number of helpful products available that allow you to carry your dog's poop hands free. One popular product is The Fifth Paw. It allows you to hang a bag of dog waste from your dog's leash while you walk until you can find a trash receptacle.
Dog owners can do their part to help improve the drinking water quality in Austin simply by picking up their dog's poop and encouraging others to do the same. The city will be making other non-pet related changes to improve water quality as well.
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