Sewage sniffing dog will visit Petoskey and Charlevoix to investigate storm drains

sewage sniffing dogA specially trained detection dog is headed for northwest Michigan in early August. This dog though doesn’t search for drugs or weapons, it’s a sewage sniffer.

Logan works through Environmental Canine Services. He’s scheduled to travel to Charlevoix and Petoskey to search for contaminated storm drains.

Gail Gruenwald, Executive Director of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, said the sniffer dogs are a cost effective tool for towns and cities.

“They actually assist local governments in identifying potential bacterial contamination in their storm water. So the dogs have been trained to identify human fecal material, and they can actually sniff it out and identify if in fact it’s there, and then also it helps the community be able to identify where, and be able to fix and problems that they might have there,” she said.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, in partnership with the City of Petoskey and the City of Charlevoix, were recently awarded grants from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation and the Charlevoix County Community Foundation to bring Logan and his trainer, Karen Reynolds of Environmental Canine Services, to Northern Michigan.

Gruenwald said if detection dogs locate contamination, local official would follow up with additional tests to gather information and identify a source. However, she says, detection dogs are a practical first step. “The dogs are much more cost effective. We would still follow up with water quality analysis, but we wouldn’t have to do the entire system, which is very expensive and also time consuming”, she said. “The dogs will be here for one day and they’ll be able to detect any problems. It’s really a first step tho for these municipalities. They’ll need to follow up and gather more information and so on, but it’s a very innovative, very cost effective tool.”

Gruenwald said Logan is scheduled to work in Petoskey on Monday, August 4, and in Charlevoix on Tuesday, August 5.

After his work day, at 4:00, each city will offer a free demonstration for the public and a question- answer session.

Sewage Sniffing Dog Demonstration: