E. Coli Levels In Local Stream Skyrocket As People In Colorado Refuse To Pick Up Dog Poop

elk meadow open space dog park

(Picture Credit: Facebook – Jody Donnelly @ Elk Meadow Open Space Dog Park)

A dog park in Colorado will likely have to close down for a while thanks to people who refuse to pick up their dogs’ poop. Elk Meadow Park in Jefferson County, Colorado may be the most popular dog park in the state, but the overwhelming piles of dog feces left over by irresponsible owners have caused the amount of E. coli  to skyrocket to 20 times the normal levels in a stream that flows into Denver metro area drinking water.

The park is situated on a thin layer of bedrock, and the pet waste runoff filters into a stream that leads into Upper Bear creek, and from there has the potential to contaminate drinking water. The levels of E. coli in the stream are already at the amount where you’d have to close a swim beach overnight.

Jason Hamburg, a Jefferson County Open Space Ranger, recently counted 74 piles of dog poop after walking only 100 meters in the park. The problem doesn’t stop there. One weekend, 79 volunteers collected half a ton of dog waste in 3 hours at Westminster Hills Dog Park, less than an hour drive from Elk Meadow Park.

Hamburg says that Elk Meadow Park will likely close down to let the area repair itself and recover. Vegetation needs time to recover from trampling, and the levels of harmful bacteria need to return to acceptable levels. Hopefully once it reopens, the patrons of the park will do their part to keep it safe and healthy, though considering how much public education and warnings have gone into fixing the problem, it doesn’t seem like irresponsible dog owners are about to start picking up poop any time soon.

What would you do if you saw an owner not cleaning up after their dog? How do you think Colorado should fix the problem of irresponsible dog owners? Let us know in the comments below!

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