Residents are reminded to not rake or blow leaves, grass, or debris into the street. According to the DuPage County Stormwater Management website, autumn leaves are often blown or swept into storm drains and waterways and become a source of water pollution. Once they reach waterways, leaves decompose and release phosphorous into the water, which can result in algae blooms and decreased oxygen for fish.
Water pollutants are not the only problem. Leaves can also build up along curbs, gutters, and storm drains, which clog city storm sewers and can result in localized flooding during heavy rains.
Residents can help to keep excess leaves out of storm sewers and waterways by engaging in a number of activities:
- Start a compost pile or add leaves to an existing one. Composted leaves and other organic materials are excellent for fertilizing gardens in the summer. It provides necessary nutrients and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Use a mulching mower to chop leaves into small pieces, which will decompose directly on lawns. The leaf pieces can also be collected and spread around flowerbeds and shrubs as mulch.
- If composting leaves is not an option, visit the DuPage County website (link) for additional options.