Stop the “POO-llution” at Hugh MacRae Dog Park

Lately there has been an increase in the amount of dog waste left behind by visitors of the Hugh MacRae Dog Park, and we need your help to stop it.  You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal?  It’s only dog poo- it’s a natural fertilizer, right?”  WRONG!  Pet waste pollutes our local creeks and waterways with fecal bacteria levels that exceed clean water standards.  In fact, it’s the #1 nonpoint source pollutant* in our local waterways.

How does bacteria from pet waste get from the dog park into creeks and waterways? 

When it rains, stormwater runoff washes bacteria, parasites, viruses and nutrients from pet waste directly into the storm drainage system, which eventually leads to the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean.

Human Health Impacts

Humans can contract diseases and infections like salmonella, e.coli, giardia, and toxoplasmosis from bacteria and viruses contained in pet waste.

Water Quality Impacts

Bacteria and parasites in pet waste also cause serious water quality problems, which result in polluted drinking water, swimming advisories, shellfish bed closures, and impaired aquatic habitat.  The nutrients in pet waste cause toxic algal blooms and aquatic weeds, which use up the oxygen in water, killing fish and other aquatic life.

How can you help stop the “POO-llution?”

  • Fully and immediately clean up after your pets while in the dog park (or any other public space for that matter).  Parks & Gardens provides pet waste stations equipped with bags and a disposal can for your convenience.
  • Encourage other pet owners to be responsible and clean up after their pets.
  • If you see pet waste left by someone else, pick it up.
  • Educate others on the hazards of unscooped pet waste.


*Nonpoint source pollution is caused when rainfall, moving over and through the ground, picks up and carries natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.  

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NHC Parks & Gardens Office: 896 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7620 • Fax 910-798-7621
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