It’s our Environmental Doody

Black, floppy eared dog named Loki standing in a dusting of snow.
Hi, my name is Loki. Help me help Nine Mile Creek! Photo by Whitney S.

We Need Your Help!

In 2018, Nine Mile Creek was listed on Minnesota’s Impaired Waters list for e-coli. That means there are more than 126 e-coli organisms in 100 mL of stream water. This is concerning because high bacteria in water can cause health problems after recreating in contaminated water. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal problems and rashes.

There are many sources of e-coli that can contribute to a water body. Some are natural and some are human caused. Feces from wildlife, decaying organic matter, leaking sewer pipes, septic leaks, and malfunctioning waste water treatment plants can all be sources. But, since Nine Mile Creek’s watershed is very urban, few septic tanks exist, and the sewer systems are monitored by the cities. So one of the biggest contributors of e-coli to the creek is likely a gift from man’s best friend.

person kneeling with doggie bag to pick up dog poop sitting in snow
Bring bags with you on walks to help pick up dog poop. Photo by John B.

Although dog poop is technically natural, the large quantity left in parks and yards is not natural. Stormwater sweeps up e-coli from this dog poop and delivers it straight to Nine Mile Creek. And, since much of our watershed is impervious pavement, the water isn’t able to filter out the pollutant through the soil.

There is an easy way to solve this problem. We just need to scoop the poop! Remember to bring baggies with you on your walks—tie some to your leash if you are forgetful. And spread the word. Help educate others—pet waste is not just natural compost, it is a serious pollutant in our lakes and streams.