SCDOT Welcome Centers and Rest Areas are provided as a service to the public. Stormwater runoff from these facilities is regulated through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. Pet waste may seem like a small problem, but it can pose a large problem for water quality.
The risk of stormwater pollution increases when pet waste is left on the rest area sidewalks, parking lot areas, and any undesignated grassy area. Rainwater collects and carries pet waste left on the ground into a storm drain or catch basin that drains to the nearest body of water.
Pet waste contains nutrients that can promote the growth of algae if they enter streams, lakes and estuaries. Algae absorb oxygen in the water that fish and other aquatic animals require to live. Animal waste also contains intestinal bacteria and disease-causing parasites that can make nearby lakes and bays unsafe for fishing, wading and swimming after storms.
Pet waste should be collected by the pet owner and placed into the disposal bags and containers provided by SCDOT at each rest area and welcome center. Proper disposal of pet waste helps prevent stormwater pollution, keeps our waterways healthy, makes rest areas and welcome centers more inviting for the traveling public, and is respectful to other people.
In much the same way that small sources of pollution add up to become a larger problem, small efforts on your part can add up to become a component of the overall solution to improve the quality of South Carolina water ways. The problem can only be solved with everyone's help.