Most catch basins connect to storm drains that discharge the runoff without treatment to the nearest brook, river, pond or ocean. The dumping of any material such as motor oil, paint, yard clippings, pet waste and sand into a catch basin can pollute the waterways, and is illegal.
As a dog owner, you can help prevent contamination of local waterways and parklands from dog waste by picking up after your dog. After picking up the dog waste, it should be placed in a trash receptacle or a place specifically reserved for dog waste. Never throw dog waste into the grates in the street - these grates are catch basins, which are part of Boston’s underground storm drain system.
Pet waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms which can cause stomach illness and rashes in humans. Pet waste that is not scooped up or is dumped down a catch basin can get flushed directly into storm drains. These storm drains discharge directly to Boston Harbor, or the Charles, Muddy, Mystic or Neponset Rivers. Thousands of people boat, fish and use these water bodies recreationally every day.
The City of Boston's dog fouling ordinance, section 16-1.10a, also called the "Pooper Scooper Law," requires dog owners to remove and properly dispose of any feces left by their dogs. This ordinance covers waste left by dogs on sidewalks, streets, parks and neighbors' yards. Violation of this regulation is punishable by a fine of $50.00 for each occurrence. If you have any questions about the "Pooper Scooper Law," please contact the City of Boston's Animal Control Department at (617) 635-5348.
The Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) is dedicated to helping create cleaner, more enjoyable rivers and harbor in the future. Tell a friend, neighbor or family member how to properly dispose of pet waste. Individuals and groups can help by stenciling “Don’t Dump” awareness messages next to the catch basins. BWSC's Storm Drain Stenciling Program can help organize such an effort and provide the necessary materials. Contact BWSC's Communications Department at (617) 989-7000 for additional information on this program.
We need help from the public! So please, pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste properly! The rivers and harbor thank you for it.