City of St. Paul Park 

on the Mississippi

Pet Waste

Are you polluting our lakes and streams? 

Pet waste contains pathogenic bacteria and other parasites.  When the pet waste is washed into our lakes and rivers it decays in the water, depleting oxygen levels and releasing ammonia, which can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms. 

Pet waste also contains nutrients that foster weed and algae growth.  Elevated bacteria levels in lakes and rivers caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) can cause unsafe conditions for swimming and recreational activities.

Pollutants from improperly disposed pet waste may be washed into storm sewers by rain or melting snow.  Storm sewers usually drain directly into our lakes and streams, carrying many pollutants along with the water.Pet waste management results in cleaner parks, neighborhoods and reduces a significant cause of stormwater pollution.

Perhaps most importantly, pet waste carries disease which make water unsafe for swimming or drinking.


 Are you risking your health?

When pet waste is disposed of improperly, not only water quality suffers--your health may be at risk, too.  Pets, children who play outside and adults who garden are most at risk for infection from some of the bacteria and parasites found in pet waste.  Flies may also spread diseases from animal waste. 

Always remove waste from areas where children play.  They are the most frequent victims of diseases from pet waste.  Of course, the best protection for children and adults is washing hands with soap and water. 

Pet waste is one of the many sources of pollution that add up to a big problem.  Fortunately, there are some simple things we can all do to help keep our water clean.  Proper disposal keeps pet waste out of local waterways.

Proper disposal of pet waste?

The job of cleaning up after your pet can be as simple as taking a plastic bag or pooper scooper along on your next walk. 

What should you do with the waste you pick up?  No solution is perfect, but here are the choices:

Flush it down the toilet...
The water from your toilet goes to a septic system or sewage treatment plant that removes most pollutants before the water reaches a lake or stream.

To prevent plumbing problems, don't try to flush debris such as rocks, sticks, or cat litter.  Cat feces may be scooped out and flushed down the toilet, but used litter should be put in a securely closed bag in the trash.

Bury it in the yard....
Dig a hole or trench that is about 5" deep; away from vegetable gardens; away from any lake, stream, ditch, or well.

Microorganisms in the top layer of soil will break down the waste and release nutrients to fertilize nearby plants.

Be cautious Keep pet waste away from vegetable gardens and water supplies to prevent disease.  Don't add pet waste to your compost pile.  The pile won't get hot enough to kill disease organisms in pet waste.


City of St. Paul Park, 600 Portland Avenue, St. Paul Park MN 55071