As part of overall plans to help reduce bacterial levels in Waller Creek, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Landscape Services and Project Management and Construction Services (PMCS) have teamed up to install pet waste stations to help reduce bacteria levels in Waller Creek.
According to EHS Environmental Programs Manager Tejashri Kyle, installing pet waste stations is a best management practice. EHS first approached Landscape Services staff in December 2019 on this project and then brought in PMCS later to manage the construction aspects. Kyle said that after numerous site walks and planning meetings, nine pet waste stations were installed in mid-April of this year: eight along the Waller Creek corridor and one outside Kinsolving Residence Hall in the northwest part of main campus.
“The locations were deliberately selected to address historical problem areas, high traffic locations near green spaces and proximity to trash cans for proper disposal,” Kyle said. “Pet waste left on the ground pollutes our water and poses health risks while worsening the creek’s existing bacterial impairment. This effort is a step towards cleaner water and a healthier Waller Creek.”
When EHS asked for Landscape Services’ support of the pet waste station concept, Landscape Services Manager Jim Carse noted the increase in dogs on campus.
“We do see some dogs on campus, and have seen more as the years go by,” Carse said.
Michael Hatfield, a project manager for PMCS Construction Services, was assigned the pet waste stations as a project.
“As manager of the construction side of the project, I met with Tejashri to discuss the scope, and other meetings followed to review types of stations and related materials,” Hatfield said.
“Once selections were made, I obtained a budget from PMCS General Construction for stations, posts and bags.”
Hatfield was also involved in plotting locations of the stations with Landscape Services and staking those locations. Hatfield verified with Utilities and Energy Management that no utilities would be damaged by installation since the posts are set underground.
“General construction was able to install the nine stations in a day and a half,” Hatfield said. “EHS inspected and approved.”
Carse said that Landscape Services continues to support the pet waste stations project by conducting weekly emptying of the trash receptacles close to the stations. Carse was initially concerned that some dog walkers would not dispose of the bags properly, but said so far there is no evidence of that.
“We didn’t want the built-in receptacles because in our research we found that people put other waste in there, leaving no room for pet waste,” Carse said.
Landscape Services checks the stations weekly as well, and will replace bags as needed.
“This project was successfully completed because of the teamwork between multiple campus departments,” Kyle said. “EHS is grateful for the collaboration with Landscape Services and Construction Services to make this effort possible. It’s one of the many things we do as a university to get the creek in better shape.”