PUPS for Clean Water is a program of ALCOSAN’s Communications Division. What do our pets have to do with ALCOSAN and its job of treating as much as 250 million gallons of wastewater every day and returning that clean water to the Ohio River?
It turns out, there are a lot of people out there who are otherwise responsible pet owners but who don’t know how to properly dispose of pet waste. Sure, most people know to pick up after their animals do their business in yards and streets and sidewalks. But many people don’t understand that it’s just as important to do so in public rights-of-way and spots that are off the beaten path. Even worse, some people pick up after their pets but think it’s OK to toss their baggies of poo down storm drains.
Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses and parasites. When left on the ground, it can wash into storm drains and contaminate rivers and streams with bacteria and parasites. According to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, pet waste is a significant cause of water body contamination, especially in areas where there are high concentrations of dogs. Decaying waste can damage the health of fish and other aquatic life as well as promote weed and algae growth, which makes recreational waters unappealing.
ALCOSAN created PUPS for Clean Water to instruct pet owners on what they can do, and it rewards them for doing so.
Individuals sign the PUPS pledge and promise to clean up after their animals and properly dispose of their waste. ALCOSAN gives them a small token of thanks, either a small bag dispenser that can clip onto a belt or leash, a lead or a collapsible water bowl for the pet. Thousands of people already have taken the pledge.
ALCOSAN now is expanding the campaign by offering dog waste stations for use by our member municipalities in their community parks.
The stations can be permanently affixed in parks and come with an initial supply of disposal bags that residents may use to pick up waste.
The green signs are highly visible and include an important message: “Pet waste left on the ground is not only unsightly. It can wash into storm drains and contaminate our rivers and streams with bacteria and parasites. Protecting our waterways from harmful pet waste is as easy as snagging it and bagging it in biodegradable bags that can be thrown into any trash can. Our pups need clean water, and it’s up to us to make it happen.”
So far, ALCOSAN has distributed 25 of the stations for use in community parks, and we are in the process of responding to dozens of additional requests from municipalities in our system.
There’s more information about PUPS for Clean Water at alcosan.org.
Thanks to everyone who makes the effort to help ALCOSAN make our rivers and streams clean for today and for generations to come.