BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As crawfish season begins, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is reminding people not to commit crawfish pollution.
Don’t put crawfish shells or water left after boiling crawfish down storm drains, into ditches, or anywhere they could get into bodies of water, the department said in its February newsletter.
“Dumping any seafood waste such as crawfish shells and boil water into a ditch, bayou, river, lake or other waterway can seriously harm or kill any resident aquatic species living there,” the article said.
In the longer term, such dumping also contributes to fish kills and fish diseases, according to the department and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.
The waste can spread pathogens that make fish ill, the estuary program said on its website.
In addition, decaying shells use dissolved oxygen, leading to fish kills. The nitrogen-rich waste also can feed blooms of algae — which in turn die and sink to the bottom, using oxygen as they decompose, according to the estuary program.
Shells should either be double-bagged and put into a secure trash can or buried in your own yard as compost, the department newsletter said.
“Just ensure that the burial is fully covered and isn’t near a ditch or water body,” it said. “Try to add hay, grass, mulch or topsoil as an added cover so that odors are reduced along with the potential for subsequent disturbance by animals or humans.”
Boil water should go down the drain to a public sewage system. or onto your own property away from water drainage.
“Public wastewater treatment systems are equipped to process wastewater and treat the constituents in the boil water,” the department said, but private treatment systems aren’t.
“Instead, the water may be poured into a grassy or weeded area on your own property away from any bayou, ditch, or body of water,” it said.