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  • Writer's pictureSUTERA In-Ground

'That’s a lot of poo': After picking up 95 bags of dog waste,

Cambridge resident pushes for environmental unit

Kara Klypycz wants city to expand Sutera In-Ground program for poop scoopers

Kara Klypycz found herself in a crappy situation, literally.

When Cambridge hit a pre-spring thaw at the beginning of March, the Dellgrove Circle resident took her son Aidan out to ride his bicycle on a path that backs onto their north Galt home. Seeing the trail littered with dog feces, she took her shovel and got to work.

When she finished, the pair decided to also collect discarded dog poop bags. Ninety-five poop bags and two hours later, the cleanup was complete.

“That’s a lot of poo,” Klypycz said, adding she isn’t even a dog owner.

“If you live here, why are you behaving that way? Why stop to put it in the bag only to throw it?”

Klypycz insisted there had to be a way for dog walkers to dispose of poo along the path that wouldn’t cause a huge mess. Waste receptacles used to be in the area, but she believes they were taken away by city staff because people used them for household items.

Then she heard of Sutera In-Ground, a Waterloo-based company that produced dog waste stations that utilize an underground containment and processing system specifically for dog feces, which is then turned into renewable energy.

The receptacles were first introduced in Waterloo in 2017 and have since expanded to surrounding municipalities. Cambridge has units at the Maple Grove dog park, Riverside Park and Churchill Park.

Allison Jones, supervisor of city communications, said “discussions have not yet taken place with the region to expand this service.”

Steven Cseresnyesi, vice-president of Sutera In-Ground, said he would like to see the region take charge of the situation, as dog waste has become an environmental concern. He noted dogs in Canada emit a million metric tons of dog waste, which equals 3.2 billion cubic feet of unburned methane in the air. That is equivalent to 325,000 car emissions.

If Waterloo region stays in line with the same 60 per cent pickup rate of dog waste that is seen across the country, it could save 24 million cubic feet of unburned methane or 2,400 passenger car emissions, Cseresnyesi said.

In addition, a Sutera-commissioned study by Kitchener-based Biotactic Fisheries Research and Monitoring, analyzed the impact of canine feces on urban fish populations. The study showed surviving creek chub from the Grand River watershed had “reduced foraging efficiency, decreased reproductive development and increased vulnerability to predators.”

To help combat these environmental issues, Sutera has offered to install, for free, up to 250 dog waste stations across the region, valued at $875,000. The plan is to collect only the monthly service fee of $145/month per container.

“If you’re only putting in a couple, I think that you’re not going to realize the success and the real intentions of why you initially put that couple in, in the first place,” Cseresnyesi said of the need to expand the program.

Cseresnyesi noted that the appeal of the Sutera In-Ground is it eliminates “the gross factor” of disposing of dog poop in a normal receptacle. Sutera’s underground, concrete storage chamber keeps the waste cooler to avoid smell and visual mess, and dropping it in the receptacle makes it touchless.

Cseresnyesi also feels that making the receptacles more widely available will commit people to use them through convenience.

“This is not the dog’s issue, it’s human issue. We’re just trying to improve human behaviour,” he said.

“The poop is kind of rising to the top. It’s becoming more of a topic that is talked about.”

Klypycz is all for that, though city staff will clean up poop bags when they are out picking up litter.

“This is exactly what we need,” Klypycz said about Sutera.

“With everything wanting to go green and to actually do something that will benefit, I think is just incredible.”

Story behind the story: A resident heard of the Sutera unit and wanted to share her own issues with dog waste and the need for more units here.

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