The Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy (CNPC) hopes distributing “Bag and Bin It” backpacks to local pet shelters will help cut down on the deadly bacteria that enters the Chattahoochee River.

The Chattahoochee River provides metro Atlanta with 70% of its drinking water. When the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service and the U.S. EPA investigated, they found that dogs are a primary contributor of fecal contamination in the Chattahoochee River within the national park’s 66 miles of trails that are along 48 miles of the river.

New adopters and their puppies receive ‘Bag and Bin It’ backpacks at the I-Wag shelter in Decatur. (Photo by Myia Griffith)

The CNPC is distributing free “Bag and Bin It” educational kits to local pet shelters. These are designed to teach pet owners the importance of waste disposal.

Each kit includes a printed drawstring backpack; a dog-bone shaped waste bag dispenser with waste bags and a leash clip; and a blinking dog-bone shaped collar clip. An informational card explains the proper disposal of dog waste and why it matters. The card has a map of the park units where adopters can take their pets.

CNPC and NPS funded 37 dog waste bins that have been installed in areas of high visitation throughout the park.

“Over time we expect an improvement in the use of dog waste bags and proper bag disposal in the bins, rather than people leaving them along the trail,” said Phillip Hodges, CNPC Board Chair.

For more information on CNPC and the “Bag and Bin It” program, visit or email

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.