Pet Info

 

It is important that you clean up after your pet, not only to keep your community and common area clean, but the following reasons:

 

Why is Pet Waste in Stormwater Runoff a Problem?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, pet waste in the stormwater system can be a major source of bacteria, excess nutrients and viruses in our rivers and streams.  Stormwater runoff picks up pet waste and other pollutants in its path as it flows towards storm pipe systems or natural swales.

This untreated stormwater then continues to flow to our lakes, streams, rivers and ponds we use for recreational activities, such as swimming and fishing.  This same runoff eventually flows to the Potomac River, which, after treatment, is the source of drinking water for the Town of Leesburg.

All Sewers are NOT Created Equal!

Storm sewers and sanitary sewers are not the same!  Sanitary sewers carry waste water from inside buildings to a facility where it is treated before being released.  Storm sewers carry runoff (rain water or snow melt) directly into ponds, creeks and streams. Wherever this water flows, it takes along something with it – pollutants.

So What’s so Bad About Pet Waste?

Pet waste contains a variety of disease causing organism such as Salmonella, Giardia Lamblia and Fecal Coliform.  These organisms can cause humans to become quite ill if they into contact with or with water that has been polluted by them.  Pet waste that is not disposed of properly carries these contaminants into our waterways.

In addition, pet waste is full of nutrients, which when carried into waterways; these nutrients can cause algae blooms.  As they die, algae deplete water of oxygen, effectively suffocating plant and aquatic life.

Grassy areas also suffer from pet waste not being cleaned up.  Parks, trails, your own back yard and even the common area in your community can be damaged by pet waste – because of the different nutrients in the waste of domestic pets, unlike waste from wild animals, pet waste does not biodegrade as quickly.

Ok – So What Can I Do About This?

  • Pick up after your pet every single time.  Check your pet store for products that make picking up easy, such as pooper scoopers, disposable pet waste bags and leashes with special pet waste bag holders.

  • Use your pet stations located throughout your community.  They take the time to stock them with pet waste bags for you.

  • Throw away pet waste in the garbage; never wash it into the gutter or storm drain.

  • You can also flush pet waste down the toilet just as you would human waste.

  • Carry extra bags with you in your car, your jackets you wear when walking your pet, so you are prepared when you travel or walk your pet.

  • Remember to keep your yard clean as well – pet waste in yards is just as harmful as pet waste in a park or on a trail.

  • Remind your fellow pet owners to do their part in picking up after their pets.  Look for pet waste cleanup stations in parks and neighborhood association managed areas.

 

Fast Facts:

 In 2001, there were an estimated 6.5 million dogs in the United States.  That is 6.3 billion pounds of poop per year!  It would take a scoop 300’ wide and 800’ deep to dispose of that much poop!

Many of our local waterways do not meet local and state water quality bacteria standards for recreational use.  Pet waste is one of the components of non-point source pollution that contributes to our water quality problems, and is one that each of us can help correct.

Every time it rains the potential exists for thousands of pounds of pet waste to wash down storm drains and into streams, rivers and lakes.  If not disposed of properly, pet waste flows directly into nearby streams and creeks without being treated at wastewater treatment facilities.

Pet waste also contains nutrients that encourage excess weed and algae growth.  This water then becomes cloudy and green – unattractive for swimming, boating and fishing.  Excess nutrients are a major cause of water quality decline.

When pet waste is washed into lakes and streams, the waste decays, using up oxygen and sometimes releasing ammonia.  Low oxygen levels and ammonia combined with warm temperatures can kill fish and other aquatic life.

Benefits of Scooping the Poop on a Regular Basis

Town of Leesburg Code:

Section 4-35(8) of the Town code requires pet owners to immediately remove pet waste from public areas or risk a fine of up to $250.00!

Anyone that has ever owned a pet, or knows someone that has, understands the obvious reasons why it is important to clean-up after your pet.  Pet waste is unattractive to look at.  It smells horrible.  It attracts annoying insects and pests.  It makes an awful mess when someone (or something) steps in it and tracks it through your house, and it is downright repulsive to have to deal with, in any capacity, especially if you have neighbors who let their dogs poop on your lawn and don’t clean up!

Simply put – everyone agrees that pet waste needs to be cleaned up, so here is some additional information why.

  • Pet waste is a health hazard.  That’s right.  Pet waste left lying on the ground can actually make you, your family, and your pets, get sick.  It can cause this because animal waste, especially dog waste, can contain and transmit parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, coccida, tapeworm and whipworm to name a few.  When infected dog waste is left lying on the ground, the eggs of these parasites enter the soil and live there – for a long time.  Then, when humans (or pets) come in contact with that soil, they also come in contact with parasitic eggs, thus potentially starting an infection.  Young children that play on the ground, teens or adults playing a pick-up football game, or gardeners tending their soil are all prone to coming in contact with the infested soil.

  • Pet waste left to accumulate is a big contributor to ground water pollution.  It washes down our streets, through our storm drains, eventually making its way to our lakes, streams and eventually the ocean, carrying all of the parasites, bacteria, viruses and fungi along with it.  The result is increased bacteria counts in our ground water supplies, and viral infections and skin rashes for swimmers and outdoor sportsman alike.

  • And finally, canine waste is poisonous to lawns.  It will kill your grass, not grow it or “fertilize” it.  It is protein-based matter, not vegetative-based matter like horse manure is.  Because of this, it will take more than one year for canine waste to biologically decompose when left lying on the ground, and as it does, it drags all of the above mentioned parasites into the soil with it where they will linger for years. Dog poop is NOT good fertilizer. It’s toxic to your lawn! The high nutrient concentration in dog poop will burn and discolor the grass, creating “hot spots”.

  • Nearly two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified pet waste as a dangerous pollutant in the same category as toxic chemicals and oil.

 

So there you have it.  Just when you thought it was safe to venture out into your backyard again, or take the kids over to the neighbors for play group, you have these other health related concerns to consider.  Pet-owners that properly provide for the regular, recurring clean-up of their beloved pets nasty “business”, either by doing it themselves or by hiring a professional, will minimize the likelihood of any of these circumstances ever affecting themselves, their family and friends, and just as importantly, the blasted pet that started the darn thing in the first place.

REMEMBER – IF YOU DON’T PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET, IT AFFECTS THE WATER YOU DRINK!

Before You Dig

 

http://va811.com/

Virginia 811 is the “one call” Virginia communications center for excavators, contractors, property owners, and those planning any kind of excavation (digging) or demolition. We notify participating utilities of the upcoming excavation work so they can locate and mark their underground facilities in advance to prevent possible damage to underground utility lines, injury, property damage and service outages.

Calling before you dig is a simple step, but one that can make your construction, planting or home improvement project safer while preventing utility outages that can be inconvenient or even dangerous for your neighbors.

In addition, calling 811 before you dig is the LAW.

Tips for Staying Warm and Saving Money

 

If you don’t like cold weather, you may go over board with heating your home, thus creating a huge electricity or gas bill.  You can stay warm and save.

Instructions:

  • Turn your thermostat to 68 degrees.  This is the recommended temperature to keep prices minimal.  Just one degree over 68 could result in 5% more on your bill.

  • Close the vents in rooms that are not used that often.  You will get more heat in the rooms you use the most such as your master bedroom and bathroom.

  • Make sure all doors and windows are weather proof to keep your home properly insulated.  You can save money on your utility bills and stay warmer.

  • Use your fireplace.  Ride around your town to find good deals on firewood.  You can also use artificial logs that can be purchased from grocery stores, discount stores, and home repair stores.

  • Put on more clothing and use blankets.  Bathrobes are great because they are thick and comfortable.  Try a snuggie!

  • Drink warm liquids.  Hot apple cider, hot tea, warm milk, coffee and a great cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream can all help raise your body temperature!

SO THINK SMART BEFORE TOUCHING THE THERMOSTAT!

Winter Reminders and Etiquette

  1. Homeowners are responsible for shoveling the sidewalk in front of their home. If you own an end townhome, you will also be responsible to clear the sidewalk on the side.  If your townhome backs to Fort Evans Road or Potomac Station Drive, you are also responsible for clearing the sidewalk in the front or rear of the property (whichever applies).

  2. Once the inclement weather has stopped, you have 24 hours to shovel and clear your walkways.

  3. When shoveling your sidewalks, driveways and parking spaces, do not throw or place your shoveled snow around the mailboxes in your area.

    • It is the responsibility of the homeowners to make sure that the mailboxes are cleared of snow so that mail delivery can take place by the postal service.

    • If you place your snow in the mailbox areas, the postal service will not deliver the mail.

    • If you are responsible for shoveling in a mailbox, please make sure you take the time to shovel it back out.

    • If you see someone shoveling snow around a mailbox area, please report it to the onsite HOA office.

    • All shovels, ice melt, sleds, toys, etc. must be stored out of open view. They may not be kept in front of the home or on the lawn.

    • Violations will be given if you do not shovel or leave items in open view.

  4. Keep your snow to yourself. Don’t toss the snow into your neighbor’s driveway or walkway, even if it means you have to carry the shovel of snow a couple of extra feet.

  5. Don’t snowblow (or shovel) your snow out into the street. Smaller cars can get stuck in those piles.

  6. If you see your neighbor has spent time & labor shoveling a space to park in, be courteous, shovel and park in your own space!

  7. If you borrow someone’s shovel, return it – in its original condition – as soon as you are done shoveling.Use your neighbor’s snowblower?  Clean it off and refill the gas tank.

  8. Clean off your car – – including your roof –before hitting the highway.Not only is it a nuisance to other drivers when your snow blows off the car, but icy chunks slapping someone’s windshield can be dangerous and cause accidents.

  9. Think of your older neighbors. If shoveling their driveway or parking spaces is too much.  Take care of their walkways, sidewalks, driveways or parking spaces.

  10. All holiday decorations should be taken down by the 31st of January.

 

SNOW SHOVELING EXAMPLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • HOUSE #1 – RESPONSIBLE FOR SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF HOME TO PROPERTY LINE (ADJACENT WITH NEXT HOME); SIDEWALK IN REAR OF HOME ALONG MAIN ROAD.

  • HOUSE #2 – RESPONSIBLE FOR SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF HOME TO PROPERTY LINE (ADJACENT WITH NEXT HOME); SIDEWALK IN REAR OF HOME ALONG MAIN ROAD.

  • HOUSE #3 – RESPONSIBLE FOR SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF HOME TO PROPERTY LINE (ADJACENT WITH NEXT HOME); SIDEWALK IN REAR OF HOME ALONG MAIN ROAD.

  • HOUSE #4 – RESPONSIBLE FOR SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF HOME TO PROPERTY LINE (ADJACENT TO COMMON SIDEWALK) COMMON SIDEWALK ON SIDE OF HOME AND SIDEWALK IN REAR OF HOME ALONG MAIN ROAD

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the onsite HOA office at 703-669-2969, or email kspiegel@sycamorehillhoa.com.

Winter Weather Advisory Tips

 

When a Winter weather advisory has been issued for Loudoun County, the LCSO offers Winter Weather Driving Safety Tips:

The agency is advising motorists to make sure their vehicles are equipped with a well-stocked winter driving kit.  A winter driving kit should include the following items:

  • Properly fitting tire chains.

  • Bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter)

  • Traction mats (broken down cardboard works well).

  • Snow shovel (they make collapsible ones)

  • Snow brush

  • Ice scraper

  • Booster cables

  • Warning devices such as flares or emergency lights.

  • Fuel line de-icer (methanol, also called methyl alcohol or methyl hydrate)

  • Extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures

  • Roll of paper towels

  • Flashlight and a portable flashing light (and extra batteries)

  • Blanket

  • Extra clothing, including hat and wind-proof pants and warm footwear

  • First aid kit

  • Snack bars or other “emergency” food and water

  • Matches and emergency candles (only use these with a window opened to prevent build-up of carbon monoxide_

  • Road maps

  • “Call Police” or other help signs or brightly colored banners.

 

The Loudoun Sheriff’s Office reminds motorists to stay safe in the winter by also following these driving safety tips:

  • Always keep the gas tank topped off.  When it gets to half, fill it up.

  • Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.  If you do have to make the trip, ensure someone is aware of your route of travel.

  • Carry a cellular phone.  Your cell phone can be used during emergencies and for notifying those expecting your arrival in case there are weather delays.

  • Always buckle-up.  Your seat belt can be the best protection against drivers who are tense and in a hurry because of weather conditions.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof – before driving.

  • Pay attention.  Don’t try to out-drive the conditions.  Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.

  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back a safe stopping distance and don’t pass on the right.

  • Know the current road conditions:  Please visit 511virginia.org for statewide highway information 24-hours-a-day, call the Highway Helpline at 1-800-367-ROAD or check local traffic incident information at Loudoun.gov traffic page (Loudoun.gov mobile traffic page for your web browsing mobile phone).

  • Use brakes carefully.  Brake early.  Brake correctly.  It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions.

  • Watch for slippery bridges, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition.  Bridges will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement.

  • Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions.  Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

  • Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle.  Remember that your four-wheel drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but it won’t help you stop any faster.  Many 4×4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop.  Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle’s traction.  Your 4×4 can lose traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive vehicle.

  • Do not pump anti-lock brakes.  If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, do not pump brakes in attempting to stop.  The right way is to
    “stomp and steer!”

  • Look farther ahead in traffic than you normally do.  Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second extra time to react safely.

  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars.  Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

  • Go slow!

 

Please be aware of your surroundings and take the extra time and leave early if needed.