With fall upon us many are thinking about a pumpkin spice latte. However now is the perfect time to think about storm water quality. Did you know that leaves and grass clippings are considered a source of pollution when washed directly into storm drains or drainage ditches? Not only do they clog the storm drains, leaves and clippings can fill catch basins to capacity and created flooding during rain events. Dumping leaves and grass clippings into the stormwater system affects streams. The increase in nutrients associated with grass clippings can cause algae growth, which can kill fish and other aquatic life. Clippings also add organic material to the drainage system that can provide a breeding ground for bacteria and insects.
So what is a homeowner to do?
When mowing your yard and raking leaves, make certain that you do not blow grass clippings or leaves into the street. West Homestead has an MS4 Permit with the DEP which regulates stormwater and pollution which may enter the streams from the storm system. Lawn clippings and leaves blown into the street and not cleaned up by the homeowner may enter the storm system and is a violation of the MS4 Ordinance and is a fine-able offense. When mowing and raking, make the first few passes with the lawnmower blowing the grass clippings into the lawn not the street. If there are leaves grass clippings on the street or sidewalk, use a broom or leaf blower to blow them back into the lawn. Do not use a hose to wash them into the street or storm drains. Keeping your leaves and lawn clippings out of the streets and gutters will have significant benefits our local Creeks and Rivers. Doing this will help keep one of our most precious renewable resources clean for the next generation.