Pet waste management

You can make a difference!

It may not seem that Fido’s smelly presents in your backyard could harm water quality in a local stream, but pet waste is a common contributor to water quality problems in local water ways.

One of the problems pet waste causes is high fecal coliform bacteria concentrations in streams. Fecal coliform bacteria are found in human and animal waste, which can also carry other bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli and Salmonella, viruses, and parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. High fecal coliform bacteria concentrations are an indicator of poor water quality and present significant health hazards for stream uses such as swimming and wading.

When pet waste enters a body of water it can cause other problems as well. Waste that is washed into streams is broken down by aerobic bacteria that use up oxygen in the water as they work, which causes dissolved oxygen levels to decrease. Low dissolved oxygen levels negatively affect aquatic organisms including fish. Fecal matter also contains phosphorous and nitrogen which act as a fertilizer to algae and plant growth. When algae and plants get these nutrients in abundance they thrive. Too much algae and too many plants in an aquatic ecosystem can lead to a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels as plants and algae die and are broken down aerobically.

 Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help keep our streams clean and healthy. 


When on a walk...

Clean up after your pet using one of Marysville's pet waste disposal stations located around the city. Just tear a bag out of the station's dispenser, place the bag on your hand, pick up the pet waste, reverse the bag, tie it in a knot and place it in a disposal station receptacle or nearby garbage can.

If receptacle is not in the area, the solution is as simple as taking a plastic bag or paper cup along on your next walk. The City of Marysville also has FREE pet waste pick up bags available at the Public Works Office. Call Surface Water Management at (360)363-8100 for more information.

FEATURED STORY: Local Lego League Club Reduces Pet Waste and Improves Community

Grace Academy, a private school located in the heart of Marysville with more than 300 students, hosts a rigorous after school club called FIRST Lego League. Participants learn to problem solve and work as a team to overcome complex engineering and programming challenges. Each year, students in the club research a topic that is important to their community. During the 2017-2018 school year, Grace Academy students decided to investigate stormwater quality and pollution prevention. Through their extensive research they found that pet waste was a significant stormwater pollutant that could easily be mitigated through small behavior changes, like cleaning up after your pet on a walk. The Grace Academy FIRST Lego League contacted the City and presented their research to Mayor Nehring. As a result, the City continues to install and restock pet waste stations throughout the City so residents and pet owners have the resources to keep public spaces and local streams clean. To learn more about Grace Academy's FIRST Lego League research and activities, read their article here or visit their website at