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City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Jun 20

Scoop the Poop

Posted on June 20, 2016 at 2:23 PM by OCOM Specialist

By Jason Widstrom, P.E., Civil Engineer

Homeowner’s Guide to a Healthy Watershed

The City of Falls Church occupies 2.2 square miles. More than half of the City drains to a stream called Tripp’s Run and the remaining area of the City goes to Four Mile Run. Both streams ultimately drain to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

These streams are classified as impaired, or not supporting federal and state swimmable and fishable goals, by the Commonwealth of Virginia for bacteria (Four Mile Run for fecal coliform and Tripp’s Run for e. coli). This status subjects these watersheds to regulation under the federal Clean Water Act. As a result, the City of Falls Church is required to mitigate its share of stormwater pollution. One way you can help is by cleaning up pet waste. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses found in pet waste can be harmful to water quality and human health.

Here are the top 10 reasons to scoop the poop:
  1. Stormwater carries pet waste and other pollutants directly into waterways.
  2. Animal waste adds nitrogen to the water. Excess nitrogen depletes the oxygen in water necessary for beneficial underwater grasses, wildlife and fish.
  3. Animal waste may contain harmful organisms such as Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli that can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting contaminated water.
  4. Roundworms and hookworms deposited by infected animals can live in the soil for long periods of time and be transmitted to other animals and humans.
  5. It's the law! Many urban and suburban areas require you to pick up after your pet. Even if there is no restriction, cleaning up after your pet is always the right thing to do.
  6. Joining the growing number of responsible pet owners may encourage hotel managers to accept pets when you are traveling and help keep fees to a minimum.
  7. No one likes to step in pet waste and spread it into homes, cars and businesses.
  8. Scooping on a daily basis and applying lime will help prevent odors.
  9. It's easy to clean up by carrying plastic baggies and paper towels in your pocket. The baggies can be secured and thrown away in the garbage.
  10. Your neighbors will appreciate your good manners.
For further information concerning Stormwater runoff and pollutants, please contact Jason Widstrom at 703-248-5350 (TTY 711)..