Seagulls feeding in landfills are affecting the quality of water in nearby lakes

To us, landfills are a place to store and treat our trash. To seagulls, it’s an endless buffet. There’s a list of ecological problems tied to their feasting, however few have considered those related to their digesting. A study by two students from Duke University analyses the impact of this phenomena on the quality of water in an article by Jeremy Frieling.

Seagull landfill

Preventing water contamination in landfills

Landfills are required by law to have systems in place to prevent the contamination of water such as barriers underneath the trash to prevent groundwater contamination. Until recently, no one has considered the fact that seagulls also carry the same bacteria because of the garbage they ingest. Two researchers at Duke University thought that when these birds move from the landfills to nearby waters and begin digesting, their droppings are just as likely to contaminate the water. They began their study shortly thereafter and the results may surprise you.

Seagulls carry bacteria to nearby water

The study conducted by Scott Winton and Mark River was published in the journal Water Research and it focused on Jordan Lake, a source of recreation and fresh drinking water for the area. The results showed that approximately 50,000 ring-billed gulls added nearly 1.2 tons of phosphorus to Jordan Lake last year through their droppings. When there are high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus present in a lake, it causes rapid growth of algae which then leads to a process called eutrophication (depletion of oxygen levels in the water). Ultimately, eutrophication can kill fish and make the water cloudy which renders it difficult to treat for drinking.

Seagull water shore

The solution? Bird deterrents

One way to diminish the water contamination problem would be to decrease the number of seagulls feeding in nearby landfills. Until now, the methods used to do so have been largely unsuccessful. However, they haven’t tried Lockbird. The most effective way to keep birds away – Lockbird’s services, deploying specifically approved laser systems mounted on a robotic arm which can scan a designated area for days on end. The Lockbird laser detects the presence of birds then projects a laser which the bird detects as another being, hence scaring the bird and chasing it away. The lasers are harmless to birds and humans alike, therefore making it the perfect solution to prevent bird-feeding in any landfill. For more information on our bird deterrent solutions, please contact one of our representatives here