When leaves pile up along the side of the street or are left on top of a storm drain, they can clog the drain and cause serious street flooding. In addition, fallen leaves and grass clippings are loaded with phosphorus, and when left near the curb or on storm drains they release pollutants into the drains which can cause water quality problems.
When streams, rivers, and ponds receive too much phosphorus, harmful algae and cyanobacteria blooms can occur. These blooms are unsightly and can be toxic to people, pets, and wildlife.
Keep your local waterways clean and healthy with a few simple steps.
- Place raked leaves or lawn clippings in paper bags to be collected by the town.
- Consider composting yard waste.
- Keep paved areas and stormdrains clear of leaves.
- Keep bagged, piled and mulched leaves on natural soil, a few feet back from paved areas.
- Ensure that your lawn service is properly disposing of yard waste.
- Reduce excessive lawn chemical use and always follow manufacturer’s directions.
For more information on how decaying leaves contribute as water pollutants, please visit the United States Geological Survey (USGS) link to the report on using leaf collection and street cleaning to reduce nutrients in urban stormwater.