Rock Creek Watershed Pet Waste Stations

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What is polluted runoff?

Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground.  Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides.  This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.  

Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways.  This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!

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A dog owner shows information about the Poop Loop Pet Waste Pilot Project. Photo credit: Karen Zeiter.
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Project Location: Bethesda, MD

Problem:  Poorly-managed pet waste not only can be a nuisance to pedestrians but it also poses public health hazards (as it carries bacteria and parasites) and it is a source of water quality impairment due to its high nutrient content.

Solution:  The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and Rock Creek Conservancy launched a pilot program to encourage pet owners to properly dispose of pet waste in the Rock Creek watershed.  The program used county stormwater fees to install seven pet waste collection stations (consisting of bag dispensers and trash receptacles) in several communities.  In its first year, the program kept more than 1,500 pounds of pet waste out of local waterways.

Scale: 7 pet waste recovery stations

Cost: $7,000 for installation; $11 bi-monthly for servicing plus $7 bi-monthly for bag refills

Partners: Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin; Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection; Rock Creek Conservancy

Contact Information
Jeanne Braha | Rock Creek Conservancy | jbraha@rockcreekconservancy
Key project facts
Project Type
Project Scale
< $10,000
Story Focus
Cost Efficiency
Environmental Benefits
Community Engagement
Stormwater Funds
Problem Addressed
Health Hazard
Runoff Pollution
Year Installed