Dogs used to help clean Milwaukee rivers

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WAUWATOSA -- Dogs are being utilized to help clean rivers around Milwaukee, and one environmental group thinks the canines could also save cities a lot of money!

Although people are removing the manhole covers, dogs were doing the heavy lifting. Canines "Sable" and "Logan" came to Wauwatosa on business. They're with the Michigan-based environmental company and came to help Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

"Our goal is at one point to get fishable, swimable, drinkable rivers and the only way we're gonna do that is by finding sources of pollution and fixing them," Cheryl Nenn with Milwaukee Riverkeeper said.

Nenn is focusing on the Milwaukee, Kinnickinnic and Menomonee rivers. The problem is human waste leaking into the rivers through sewage lines that are supposed to carry storm water and nothing else.

"It's really bad for the water quality and it's really a public health risk," Nenn said.

Cameras, dyes and smoke have been used for testing, but adopted dogs are cheaper, and when trained right, just as accurate.

"We find the dogs are very efficient because it's an immediate result, whereas lab results, you have to take that sample, send if off to a laboratory, have it processed and wait for the results," Scott Reynolds with Environmental Canine Services said.

Once the dogs find a hot spot, there still needs to be additional testing, but the dogs allow for smaller areas to be tested, which saves money.

When it comes to finding leaks, accuracy can save money for cities and provide convenience for residents when it's time to make repairs.

Sable and Logan will head back to Michigan, but Milwaukee Riverkeeper officials say they'd like to get their own dogs. "We certainly would have enough work to keep the dogs busy for a very long period of time," Nenn said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Milwaukee Riverkeeper cleanup projects.