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When it comes to storm drains, “leaf” them alone

Posted October 1, 2016 in Articles

The trees look beautiful this time of year, but all that fall color eventually ends up on your lawn and driveway. By that point, it isn’t so wonderful looking. It is more of a mess.  So you rake those leaves out of your yard, remember leaf litter can pose a serious problem to our storm drains, roadside ditches, and streams.

Excess leaves and lawn debris placed near streams or on steep slopes can also cause problems. Plant roots help to hold the soil in place, so raking your leaves and lawn debris over steep slopes can smother and kill vegetation and aid erosion. Decaying leaf litter in a stream can potentially affect the oxygen levels in the water, harming stream inhabitants that need the oxygen to breathe.

Remember these simple guidelines.

  • Do not dump fallen leaves and other yard waste into storm drain.
  • Clean up fallen leaves and other yard waste that reach the street to keep it out of the storm drain system, this will ensure proper flow of storm runoff during a rain event.
  • Use a mulching mower or a mulching blade and leave grass clippings on the lawn as fertilizer.
  • Use fallen leaves as winter or summer mulch or shred them and leave them on the lawn.
  • Compost your leaves, brush, grass clippings, and other yard waste.
  • Do not dump grass or yard waste near a storm drain or onto a creek bank where it will be washed into creeks and rivers.
  • Contact your municipality or trash hauler about collecting leaves and other yard waste to prevent storm drain blockages in your area.

In addition, if you see storm drains that are backed up due to leaves and debris, please contact your local municipality to report the blockage.

To learn more about ReWa initiatives, visit www.rewaonline.org.