A simple lesson for watershed residents….about “POOP!”

Dear Friends and Protectors of Lake Attitash




What’s the Problem with Pet Waste?


Pet waste left in our yards and communities can have many adverse effects on the environment and human health. Full of excess nutrients and harmful bacteria, pet waste can be a carrier of the following serious diseases: Parvo, Giardiasis, Salmonellosis and Cryptosporidiosis just to name a few. Besides the fact pet waste is a neighborhood nuisance, it can make people sick, especially children who are more likely to come into contact with it while playing. Pet waste left on lawns can also kill or damage grass and other plants.  When pet waste is washed into lakes or streams, the waste decays, uses up oxygen, and sometimes releases ammonia. This can kill fish! It can also introduce harmful bacteria into the water, severely impacting human health in addition to pets and wildlife that also may come into contact with this water. Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Overly fertile water becomes cloudy and green…imagine this in Lake Attitash!

Managing pet waste properly is something easy that everyone can do to make a difference in the quality of our surface waters.  Individual actions can result in significant water quality improvements when carried out by a majority of people. Unlike some forms of storm water pollutants, individuals in our watershed can easily and economically manage pet waste and help to keep your waters safe and aesthetically pleasing.



There are many licensed dogs in the Lake Attitash Watershed.  Each of these dogs produces about ¾ lbs of solid waste and 7.8 billion bacteria per day!  Rainfall and snowmelt in the Lake Attitash watershed goes untreated directly into streams, rivers and lakes. Along its way, storm water picks up contaminants in its path. That’s why it is important to make sure that pet waste and its pollutants do not end up in storm drains.



The lands in the watershed protect Lake Attitash and the backup drinking water supply for Amesbury residents. Waste from dogs can enter directly into the Lake or into the tributaries that then flow into the Lake.  Bacteria and other parasites, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, found in pet waste can survive for long periods when left on the ground. During a rain storm, these pollutants can be washed into the lake, compromising water quality. Please pick up after your pet.



How you can help

  • NEVER let your dog run loose.
  • BRING IT ‐ Always bring a plastic bag when you walk your dog.
  • BAG IT ‐ Use the bag as a glove to pick up the pet waste. Scoop up the waste and turn the bag inside out around the waste.
  • DISPOSE IT Properly – Dispose the waste by placing it in a trash can or flushing it unbagged down the toilet. Don’t forget to wash your hands.
  • PICK UP after your pet in your yard.
  • ONLY bring your dog where dogs are allowed.


This project has been partially funded with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under an s. 319 competitive grant.