Water-Related News

Uncollected dog waste threatens SWFL waterways

More than 13 tons of dog waste isn’t disposed of properly every day in Lee County, the county’s Domestic Animal Services office said. That poses a threat to the area’s water, according to officials. The high nitrogen and phosphorous content in the waste feeds algae, which plagued Florida waterways during the rainy season.

The county Department of Health issued a warning in June after the Florida Department of Environmental Protection found potentially harmful blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee River near Alva, and water quality concerns prompted Gov. Scott to declare a state of emergency a few weeks later.

“People come to the beaches, people come to see the water and swim in it and not be like, ‘Oh that’s gross, it’s dark brown, dark green water,” dog owner Sean Miloff said while with his pooch Wednesday at Rotary Park in Cape Coral. “We want nice, blue water.”

Miloff picks up after his dog and wishes others did the same. “I think it’s gross but I think it’s something that could easily be taken care of if people were accountable,” he said.

Many Southwest Florida parks provide disposal supplies for free. And picking up the poop isn’t just a matter of common courtesy or preserving the environment. It can also help protect the health of your dog and others. Hookworms, tapeworms and ringworms can be transmitted to canines via feces, officials said.