The City of Titusville, Florida / Water Resources / NewsProtecting Our Waterways When Man’s Best Friend has “Gotta Go”
Protecting Our Waterways When Man’s Best Friend has “Gotta Go”
Keeping Waste Out of Local Waters
TITUSVILLE, FL - (February 25, 2014) – It started with four, then grew to eight, and now there are thirteen. Thirteen dog waste stations have been installed in the City of Titusville as part of the Bag It! Trash It!
campaign. According to Maureen Phillips, Titusville’s Water Conservation & Public Outreach Manager, for the past five years the city has been educating Titusville pet owners on the detrimental effects of pet waste in waterways and providing tools to encourage owners to pick up and dispose of their pets’ waste properly. “In addition to installing waste stations, we have given out over 4,000 doggie waste bag dispensers at events, local shelters, and veterinary offices,” Phillips said.
The majority of the dog waste stations have been installed at Sandpoint Park, with additional stations at the A. Max Brewer Bridge and the Titusville Marina. “Today’s installation is the first one that is not right next to the river,” explained Sandra Reller, Titusville’s Stormwater Administrator. The newly installed station is located next to a large stormwater pond in an area frequented by dog walkers. “We want our residents to realize that dog waste left on the ground gets washed into waterways. Whether it gets washed directly into a pond or into the street and then through a stormdrain, it still affects our waterways.”
Dog waste can be detrimental to the environment in a number of ways. Pointing to the brochure she developed for the program, Phillips explained how dog waste can overload a waterway with nutrients, which causes algal blooms. The blooms block the sunlight needed by aquatic plants and rob the water of oxygen, killing plants, fish and wildlife. Fecal waste can also harbor microorganisms that can make people ill when they ingest or come in contact with the water.
Although introduced over five years ago, Titusville’s Bag It! Trash It!
program has gained new emphasis with recent news regarding the impaired health of the Indian River Lagoon and the newly implemented Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) adopted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which require the City of Titusville to achieve water quality targets by reducing the amount of both nitrogen and phosphorus the enter the Indian River Lagoon. “There are a lot of things that we are going to have to do to keep the lagoon healthy,” said Sean Stauffer Titusville Water Resources Director. “Picking up after their pets is a simple thing that every dog owner can do to improve water quality.”
Titusville hopes to install additional dog waste stations in areas frequented by dog walkers that are near stormwater ponds and other waterways. The stations include bright yellow signage to make them highly visible to pet owners and feature Winston, Phillips’ golden retriever. Winston who is known as Winston the Water Dog has been featured in several conservation campaigns and attends many events promoting water conservation.