Since its founding in 2009, ECS has completed over 70 sewage detection/source tracking projects in 14 different states and over 30 Ship and Sniff services from 11 different states.  Some of our project locations and clients include:

Arizona - Ship & Sniff, Sedona and Prescott
​CaliforniaSanta Barbara
Colorado - Denver
Florida - Orlando
Hawaii - Ship & Sniff
Maine -  Ship & Sniff, Portland, Kittery, Lisbon, York, Ogunquit, Waldoboro, Old Orchard Beach, Old Town, Saco, Bangor
Maryland - Ship & Sniff
Massachusetts - Boston, Ipswich
Michigan​ - Ship & Sniff, Lansing, Traverse City, Chippewa County, Ottawa County, Sutton Bay, Berrien County, Sanilac County, Yankee Springs Recrational Area, Muskegon, Houghton Lake, Tawas, Shiawassee County, Eaton County, Grand Rapids (Plaster Creek Ship & Sniff), Kent County, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Land (Isabella County), Kalamazoo, Monroe County, Clinton County, Jamestown Charter Township, Lime Lake Watershed, Huron River Watershed Council
New Hampshire - ​Ship & Sniff, Portsmouth, Durham, Laconia, Exeter, N. Hampton, Rye, Salem
New Jersey - Ship & Sniff, Navesink River communities (in partnership with Clean Ocean Action)
Vermont - Ship & Sniff, Bennington, Pawlet, Hartford
Washington - Ship & Sniff, Seattle, Kirkland, Skagit County, Kitsap County, Whatcom County
West VirginiaBeckley
Wisconsin - ​​Milwaukee (in partnership with Milwaukee Riverkeeper), Shorewood



We all know that dogs can help humans by using their amazing scenting abilities, such as finding missing persons and detecting bombs, narcotics, and arson materials.  How they do it and how accurate they are, however, has been difficult to study scientifically.  ECS has been fortunate to attract the attention of the scientific community to study our canines and their abilities to locate and source track human sewage.

The first study was funded and published by the Water Environment Research Foundataion (WERF) and conducted by the City of Santa Barbara Creeks Division and the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010.  Side-by-side lab testing for bacterial, chemical, and human DNA markers was done for the locations investigated by the canines. The final research report found:

  • The canines were 100% accurate on sites/samples where the lab results did not find any human waste indicators.
  • One canine was 100% accurate and the other was 86% accurate (when factoring for a canine "scent saturation" complication at 1 site) where the lab results found at least 1 human waste indicator.
  • There are benefits to adding canine scent tracking to the source tracking toolbox. The major advantages include real time results, the ability to test a high number of sites per day, and low cost per sample.  

Click here to read the full report.

A follow up to the original WERF study was published in Water Environment Research in June 2014.  That publication found:

  • ECS canine source tracking is a useful approach for prioritizing sampling sites for which DNA-based and other expensive laboratory tests can then confirm and quantify the human waste contamination.  

Click here for access to the report.

Many ECS clients are now conducting side-by-side sample collection and lab testing for bacterial, chemical, and/or human DNA indicators at sites prioritized by the ECS canine scenting results.  The combined results are a powerful tool for locating or narrowing down illicit discharge locations and providing more comprehensive information for decision making.

City of Santa Barbara video - why and how scent trained K9s are used for ilicit discharge detection


The uniqueness of what ECS does and the sight of our adorable canines often attracts the media to observe and report on our activities.  Here are a few of the most recent news articles and videos.