Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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DIY

  • Pet Waste

    Clark County has almost 110,000 dogs, of all shapes and sizes, and their poop adds up to about 15,000 tons per year. Pet waste left on the ground can be washed into storm drains that lead directly to our streams and wetlands. This waste carries harmful bacteria, which can affect the health of aquatic wildlife, ourselves and our children.

     

    Related articles: Clean Water | Legacy Lands

  • Pet Waste Q&A

    Common Questions

    Why can't I just let poop break down into the soil?

    Rain runoff can carry contaminants to nearby streams through storm drains and ditches. Also, pathogens may remain even after the solids have dissolved.

    Can I bury it or put it in my compost bin?

    Under no circumstances should you put pet waste in your compost, or bury it where food will be grown or areas close to surface or ground water.

    Can I flush it down the toilet?

    Flushing pet waste down the toilet is not recommended. Few private septic systems are equipped to properly process dog waste. Municipal sewer systems can be blocked by especially large droppings and may be unable to break down elements in dog waste. The harmful organism, toxoplasma gondii, found in cat waste and potentially dangerous to children, elderly, and pregnant women, may be able to survive the municipal waste treatment process.

    If it’s important, why doesn’t everyone pick it up?

    There are hundreds of perceived reasons for not picking up dog poop, but when it comes down to it, keeping our families, our water resources, and our habitats healthy are more important than any of them.

    I have a cat — does this go for me too?

    Because of how much time cats spend outdoors on their own, we don't expect you to go running around picking up after them every time they do their business. For cats that use litter boxes, though, we recommend that the litter be properly disposed of — which means not flushing it down the toilet or dumping it in the backyard (or over the fence). Cat litter should be tossed in the garbage, right next to those bags of dog doo.

    How can I talk to my neighbors about picking up after their pets?

    We know how much of a strain it can be on neighborhood relations to find surprises in your front yard &mdash especially when they’re not from your own dog! Likewise, it can be frustrating when you don’t feel like your kids can go play outside without coming back with poo on their shoes. For these reasons, and others, the Clean Water Program has introduced Neighbors for Clean Water — a toolkit of resources and information to help you talk to your neighbors about increasing the scoop-rate in your community and making it a safer and healthier place for your family, other pets, and the environment.

    Why not pick up the poo?

    If Your Reason Is:Think About:
    My dog is small and so is his doo. Waste from almost 110,000 dogs in Clark County adds up— and that includes big dogs, small dogs, and everything in between.
    No need to pick it up. It will eventually just go away. Even though the solids may dissolve, pathogens and other contaminants can be washed into the nearest storm drain or waterway. Even if it does eventually decompose, the pathogens it carries may not go away for several years— they can make you and your children sick. For more details, visit our page on harmful bacteria.
    I’m not always prepared. Tie bags onto your dog’s leash or keep them by the door. Many parks also have pet-waste bag kiosks.
    It’s in my own yard— it's not going anywhere. When it rains, runoff carries what starts in your yard down the curb to the nearest storm drain or ditch where it goes untreated into our water.
    I just dont have time and its dark when I get home. Yes, time is a real issue. Poo patrol is probably not high on anyone’s list of fun things to do after a hard day at work. All we can say is do the best you can. Ideally, you can keep a flashlight and plastic bags by the back door so you'll be ready when Fido is. If that doesn’t work for you, try to pick it up daily, or every couple days, or even once a week. Just remember, if you pick it up more often, it won’t be such a huge chore. (And think of how clean your shoes will stay!)
    Its more natural to leave it there. Wild animals have been here for years. No watershed is naturally prepared to accommodate the amount of waste produced by domesticated dogs. The number of wolves which would naturally inhabit an area the size of Clark County would be around 70— compare that to the 109,867 dogs living here now! That number of dogs is equivalent to that of a city of more than 27,000 people— imagine if all of those people were using their backyards as bathrooms!

    Did you know...

    • The average dog leaves 23 piles of poop weekly.
    • The weight of dog poop in Clark County each year is equivalent to the weight of 37 Boeing 747s.
    • Dog poop is a major food source for rats.

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