Halifax would like you to pick up after your dog, and help prevent the pollution of the municipality’s waterways in the process.
The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is rolling out a new pilot program called Canines for Clean Water to help educate the public that their dogs’ waste can contain bacteria and parasites that may end up in watersheds — potentially forcing the temporary closure of beaches throughout the municipality.
The HRM has decided to focus the program on Dartmouth’s Lake Banook and Lake MicMac.
Both areas were identified in a pollution control study released earlier this year as having high levels of canine E. coli, bacteria found in the lower intestine of dogs.
The HRM believes that canine E. coli bacteria make their way into the waterways when rain washes improperly disposed of dog waste into lakes, rivers and creeks.
Now the municipality is asking dog owners to pledge to keep the water clean.
It says owners should keep pets on a leash near waterways, pick up and properly dispose of dog waste as garbage, and spread the message to other dog owners.
The new program is actually part of the recommendations from the pollution control study released by Stantec Consulting in April.
Stantec tested multiple locations in both lakes between June and Sept. 2018, detecting multiple sources of fecal matter, including birds, deer and humans in addition to canines.
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The consulting report recommended that the HRM work to increase “public education on the need to pick-up droppings from domestic dogs.”
“Canine markers were identified at numerous sample locations, with several hits near public beaches and an off-leash dog park,” the report read.
Stantec stressed that the areas where human waste was detected should be a priority for the municipality, but said remediation and education would help the problem in general.