104B State Water Resources Research Institute Scope 17: Phosphorus Contributions to Urban Runoff from Non-Anthropogenic Animal Waste

  • Lee, Brad (PI)
  • Edwards, Dwayne (CoI)
  • Munshaw, Gregg (Former CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Contributions of animal waste have a large impact on water quality, however little work has been done quantifying animal manure contributions, particularly domestic canine phosphorus (P) contributions, in urban areas. The issues of environmental pollution and potential damage to vegetation due to dog waste are known. These issues are often addressed by city planners relative to dog parks, but the potential contributions to water pollution are often ignored. Canine fecal P concentration is higher than typical values reported for feedlot cattle, broiler chickens and swine produced in concentrated animal feeding operations. This is of particular relevance to Kentucky, as the Commonwealth ranks third in the nation for the number of dog owners per household, 45.9%. The average dog owner has 1.6 dogs, making the number of Kentucky canines in excess of 1.44 million, approximately one-third of Kentucky’s human population. It is estimated that 40% of dog owners do not pick up after their dogs in a residential landscape. Since the majority of households are concentrated in communities with municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), nutrient contributions from canine contributions are of particular relevance to these 104 regulated Kentucky communities within 32 counties that have 65% of Kentucky’s population. Recently modeled P dynamics in Minneapolis – Saint Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area and identified canine manure, as the leading contributor to phosphorus (P) impairments in nearby watersheds. This conclusion was based on the assumption that all P runoff from lawns was attributable to canine waste since Minnesota bans the use of P fertilizer in urban areas. Because Kentucky does not have any fertilizer regulations, it is likely that both fertilizer and canine feces are a contributor to P in stormwater runoff. In Lexington, there are approximately 100,000 dogs. If each dog produces an average of 275 lbs. of waste per year, this would be approximately 14,000 tons of dog waste produced annually. If only 60% is sent to the landfill and 40% remains on our lawns and impervious surfaces then Lexington watersheds have an annual input of almost 6000 tons of dog waste. We propose to quantify the amount of P in domestic canine manure and then evaluate the potential P runoff in turfgrass, typical of urban landscapes treated with canine manure. The work will be conducted on Bluegrass (P-rich soils) where the greatest number of Commonwealth citizens reside and where the majority of MS4 regulated communities are located.
Effective start/end date6/18/186/17/19


  • US Geological Survey


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