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Tag: sewer

The dog that helps clean up OUR mess

Sable_restingFor all those who fret obsessively about dogs leaving environmentally damaging messes behind — not that it’s not a valid concern — here’s a story of a dog who’s helping clean up the messes we leave behind.

Sable, a discarded German shepherd mix adopted from an animal shelter, has been trained to sniff out illegal sewer connections, which dump billions of gallons of bacteria-filled water into rivers, lakes and streams each year, leading to closed beaches, contaminating fisheries and costing millions to clean up.

Scott Reynolds adopted Sable with the idea of training him to sniff out illegal sewer connections. Now, after a year of work in Michigan’s Kawkawlin River, Sable has earned enough praise to be top dog at Environmental Canine Services, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“In the mornings, he runs to the back room and looks to the hook where his harness is, as if to say, ‘Do we get to do this today?’ ” Reynolds said. “He loves to work.”

Sable is scheduled to do his thing next in Santa Barbara, California, then head to Maine next spring to help track pollution that has closed shellfish beds along the coast.

Sable sniffs water in drains and pipes — often buried in deep woods or under fallen trees — to detect illegal sewer connections. He barks when he smells raw sewage.

Sable also  has his own website, sablethesniffer.com.

Sable has an 87% accuracy rate measured against lab results, Reynolds says.

Normally, municipalities send human employees to detect illegal sewer connections — a bit of a guessing game, and a process that requires lab tests that can take weeks.

The dog was turned over by owners who mistreated him, said Autumn Russell of Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary, near Grand Rapids. “No one had any idea of his potential,” she said.

Reynolds, who has trained other rescued dogs for search and rescue and narcotics detection, spent more than a year training Sable to sniff out waste, ammonia and detergents that signal illegal connections.

(Photo: By Robert Domm, courtesy of Environmental Canine Services)

Introducing: an outdoor toilet for dogs

A Michigan man thinks he has come up with a way to flush away the dog poop problem.

Curt Fournier, of GreenDog LLC, is ready to start marketing the “PowerLoo,” an outdoor, flushable toilet for dog waste.

It lists at $1,000 a unit, which I’m assuming includes the required tie-in to your home’s water and sewer lines.

The PowerLoo works just like an indoor toilet. It sits mostly below ground level and taps into sewer lines that lead to waste treatment centers. An optional heating unit to prevent freezing is available for colder climates, according to the Detroit Free Press.

You can view a commercial for the product at the PowerLoo website.

Fournier and his fiancée and business partner, Victoria Januszewski, say their product provides a solution to the environmental and health problems associated with dog poop. It’s set to launch next month.

“Both the Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency say pet waste should be flushed down a toilet, but up until this point, there was really no safe or convenient way to do so. Carrying dog poop into your house can be unsafe, and not to mention gross,” Januszewski said.

“Vicki and I were getting tired of cleaning up the mess left by our two dogs and thought that being able to flush it down a toilet in the backyard would make things easier,” Fournier said.

Of course — unless you train your dog to do it – you still have to pick up the poop, carry it to the PowerLoo, open it and flush (both of which can be done with your foot), but otherwise, the company literature boasts, disposal of dog waste is “hands-free.”

“There are 75 million dogs in the U.S., and each produces, on average, one pound of waste per day,” Fournier said. “Most of it is either left on the ground, where it is exposed to humans and has the potential to contaminate water sources, or it gets thrown away in a plastic bag and ends up taking up space in a landfill.”

GreenDog expects to produce 500 PowerLoos in 2009. In addition to homeowners, the company hopes to market the PowerLoo to dog breeders, doggy day care centers and pet-friendly apartment complexes.

Missing Rottweilers found underground

Two Rottweilers from Schaumburg — whose owner reported them stolen 11 days earlier — were found safe Monday, pretty much right under the feet of employees at the concrete contracting firm that is their home.

An employee of the company, outside Chicago, heard whining coming from a drainage system on the property. Employees ran a camera through the drainage pipe and located 6-month-old Trixi and 1-year-old Bosco.

“We had to break up our front drive to get access to the manhole to get ‘em out,” an employee said.

Employees think the dogs chased an animal into the drainage system, which flows into a creek on the property.

Other than being hungry — they reportedly lost 15 pounds each — the dogs were reported in good condition, except for some paw injuries.