DEEP DOODIE: Dog waste affects water quality

COLUMBIA CITY — Pet waste, especially dog waste, can mean trouble for the water quality in Columbia City.Gene Haskins with Whitley County Soil and Water said this is usually not a problem with cats.“Cats use liter, which is disposed of in the trash,” said Haskins, “That’s no problem because it goes to the landfill.”For dogs, Haskins said the problem is twofold when owners walk their dogs and do not clean up after them, and when the dogs are fenced in a yard.According to Haskins, there are nearly 2,212 dogs dropping an average of 1,659 pounds of waste every day. Much of the waste is cleaned up, but some is not.“When it rains, it washes all that waste away,” said Haskins.This pollutes the waterways, making it a health hazard.“Not all of it will reach the waterways, but it can be a problem,” said Haskins.To help resolve the problem, Haskins said dog waste stations on the Blue River Trail or down in Morches Park are being considered.“We’re still moving on that project,” said Haskins. “There are not any plans made for that yet.”In the mean time, Haskins encourages owners to clean up after their pets to ensure cleaner, healthier water.