Phillippi Creek is an urban waterway. During a storm event, rainwater will run off 56 square miles of backyards, neighborhood streets, shopping centers, and parks to collect in the creek. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have identified Phillippi Creek as having high levels of bacteria and nutrient pollution. One of the sources of this pollution is pet waste. (Another source is fertilizer). When dog poop gets picked up by the rain, it can transmit parasites, cause algal blooms, and harm the fish and wildlife living in or near our creeks and waterways.
Pick it up and toss it out. Better in a landfill than in the creek!
Popular Poop MYTHS
- Poop breaks down and washes away. This is true — it washes away into the creek, carrying nitrogen and bacteria (which can include some antibiotic resistant strains) and possibly parasites and viruses with it!
- Poop is good fertilizer for your yard. Of all of the different residential formulations of fertilizer that companies produce, there’s a good reason they don’t produce a special Saint Bernard poop mix or standard poodle poop mix. Dog poop is a highly concentrated source of nitrogen and will burn your lawn. Dog poop contains harmful bacteria that can make you and other wildlife sick, and it can contain parasites.
- Nobody picks up wildlife poop, why should I pick up my dog’s poop? The natural environment we have left does not function as it once did. Normal carrying capacity for top carnivores has been exceeded, especially in urban environments with high densities of pets. Plus, the wild animals that poop in your yard are eating foods from that environment and then returning them in a slightly different form. Think of it as a closed loop. Your dog is not only bringing in extra material from an outside source, but the ingredients in their food are foreign to the soil microbes decomposing the poop.
- I live far from the bay, no way my dog’s poop reaches there. Rain can wash nitrogen, bacteria, parasites and viruses in dog poop from your yard directly into waterways or though stormwater drains into creeks, rivers, and our bay. Phillippi Creek has over 100 miles of canals that help carry water from your neighborhood into the creek or bay. You are very much connected to a conveyance system even if you live east of I-75.
- Dog poop is safe and biodegradable. Dog poop is biodegradable, but it is not safe. It contains harmful bacteria that can cause serious disease. It can also contain parasites, which are not safe. For the same reasons that most modern Floridians don’t poop and leave it in their own yards or our parks – it’s not safe to leave dog poop.
- Stormwater goes to a water treatment plant, which treats bacteria and parasites. In Sarasota, stormwater and sanitary sewers are separate systems. None of our stormwater (even the water that enters a storm drain) is treated or cleaned before it reaches Phillippi Creek or Sarasota Bay.