Northumbrian Water is urging dog walkers to act responsibly and to stop dumping countless bags of dog waste in one of its County Durham sites.
Bridgehill Service Reservoir, located near Consett, provides drinking water to homes and businesses in the nearby areas of Bridgehill and Shotley Bridge.
The grounds of the County Durham site have fallen foul of endless bags of dog poo being thrown from a nearby footpath over recent times, with the problem becoming a growing menace for the water company and its employees having the job of cleaning up the mess. The footpath where the littering offences take place, runs from Pemberton Road in Bridgehill and is located near to Bridgehill Primary School.
Northumbrian Water′s Strategic Network Operations and Maintenance Regional Manager, Ian Wade, said: "We believe it is a minority of people committing this littering offence, with the vast majority of dog owners being responsible in cleaning up after their pets and disposing of it in the appropriate way.
"Although the problem of cleaning up other people′s dog mess is unpleasant, our main priority is to ensure none of the abandoned dog dirt is spread around our site by vehicle or foot. We are, therefore, taking extra measures when entering and leaving this particular site to ensure it continues to comply with the strict drinking water quality standards that we adhere to."
Dog owners should keep hold of their pooch′s poo until they come across a dog waste bin or a regular litter bin if none is available, and if there are no bins at all then take it home with them to dispose of it properly.
Anyone who fails to dispose of bagged dog poo appropriately can be issued with a fixed penalty notice for littering of £150 and could be fined up to £2,500, if taken to court.
Ian Hoult, Neighbourhood Protection Manager at Durham County Council, said: "Dog fouling not only looks untidy, but it poses a health risk, especially to children and in sensitive areas like this.
"We know most people pick up after their pets and in this particular situation the dog owner has done the hardest part. But by throwing the bagged faeces over the fence they are actually committing the offence of littering and are liable for a £150 fine.
"We would urge anyone with information about this issue or any others to report them to us either by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/dogfouling or calling 03000 261 000."