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Turning poop into power: Waterloo planning to install more dog waste disposal units


City of Waterloo park technologist, Rhonda Fetterly is not a fan of dog pop being left on the ground.

“It’s smelly, unsightly and not aesthetically pleasing,” Fetterly said.

That’s why she’s big fan of the in-ground waste containment system the city first piloted back in 2017.

Since then, 22 have been installed, diverting over 90,000 pounds of dog waste from local landfills – and generating a significant amount of electricity.

“They literally took a regular catch basin and then they designed this unit,” Fetterly said.

The underground basin, which is cooler and therefore helps control the smell, is emptied every five to six weeks based on usage.

Fetterly said the waste is then co-mingled with other organics from across southern Ontario. Those contents are then converted into green energy.

In nearly five years, the dogs of Waterloo have contributed enough poop to power 25 homes for a year.

Due to that success, more units will soon be installed.

“I think it’s incredible because we are showing sustainability,” Fetterly said.

“We’re trying to take advantage of diverting from the landfill which is a finite resource,” she added. “And we are contributing to a better environment by doing energy conversion.”

Not only is dog waste unsightly and smelly, it can have a negative impact on local creeks, rivers and ground water as it breaks down, the city said.

In the City of Waterloo, compostable dog poop bags can be put into household green bins, but those same bins do not allow plastic poop bags.

As an added bonus, Fetterly said the in-ground waste receptacles take any type of bag – even plastic poop bags.

The city is also running a 'puppy poop power' contest in hopes that more waste will go into the specialty containers.

Dog owners can enter by scanning the QR code on the green tower.

“They will be entered in to win a prize which contains compostable poop bags, a collapsible water dish, some uptown BIA bucks and some doggy treats,” Fetterly said.

The city plans to install new receptacles in popular dog walking areas as the city continues to develop. One of those locations will be the new leash-free dog park on Copper Street.

The disposal units can be found at:

  • Anndale Park
  • Bechtel Dog Park
  • Beechdrops Park
  • Chesapeake Park
  • Dunvegan Park
  • Forest Hills Park
  • Lakeshore Optimist Park
  • Mary Allen Park
  • McCrae Park
  • Moses Springer Park
  • New Hampshire Park
  • Old Post Park
  • Pinery Trail Park
  • Red River Park 
  • Regency Park
  • Rolling Hills Park
  • St. Moritz Park
  • Vista Hills Park
  • Westvale Park
  • Waterloo Park, East
  • Waterloo Park, West

Waterloo has also created an online Poop Power map. Top Stories

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