The City of Ottawa recently added signs to existing pet waste stations in the city parks along with new pet waste stations on Prairie Spirit Trail, city officials said.

A pet waste station provides users bags to pick up pet waste and a trash can to dispose of the bagged and sealed pet waste. Pet waste not picked up is a human and animal health issue because the waste can spread diseases between pets and people such as parasites, giardia, coccidia, officials said. Pet waste left on the ground also hinders other users of public areas because it makes those areas less appealing for people trying to enjoy them.

Pet waste also becomes a water quality issue if not disposed of properly by washing into our creeks and Marais des Cygnes River via stormwater. Stormwater is runoff from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground and flows across the land. This runoff flows into storm drain culverts, ditches that end up in local streams, creeks, and rivers. Stormwater is not treated for any pollutants before entering these water bodies we use for drinking water, swimming, fishing and other recreational opportunities.

Pet waste washed into streams carries bacteria like E. coli, which in high concentrations can make recreation in the water unsafe. As pet waste breaks down it can hurt fish and other organisms in the water by using up oxygen. It can also encourage weed and algae growth.