City of Abilene

This Fall - Bag It, Don't Blow It!

Soon, our hot weather will cool, our trees will turn from their vibrant green and the leaves will fall. It’s an annual ritual, one that lasts a month or so, where we pull out our rakes and clean up our yards from seasonal debris. We see this as nature taking it’s course, but did you know that these dead leaves, grass clippings, and other yard debris are actually stormwater pollutants if not bagged up and thrown away?

When we merely blow them into the streets or leave them to erode, they mix with rainwater, roll down driveways, sidewalks and yards and wash down storm drains. If it doesn’t cause clogs in the drainage system, then it is it ending up in our creeks, streams and untreated lakes, pulluting our waterways.

Because stormwater does not go to a treatment plant like sanitary sewer water does, the debris eventually breaks down, adding excess nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus to the water. This leads to a high growth of algae, which is not only unsightly, but blocks sunlight to the water, which depletes its oxygen, and kills fish.

Here are things you can do to prevent stormwater pollution when it comes to your yard:

Mow your lawn less often. Keeping your lawn at least 3” tall has advantages. It minimizes weed growth, requires less watering and reduces the pressence of pests.

Leave grass clippings on your lawn, compost them or bag and dispose properly. When you do cut the lawn, leaving the clippings in the grass helps limit weeds and retains moisture. Be sure to sweep your sidewalks and driveway areas and dispose of those clippings by composting or properly trashing.

Immediately rake fallen leaves, shrubbery trimmings and other yard depris and depose of it properly. It is important to bag this debris and place it along the curb for municipal collection. You should never hose or blow the debris into the street as that leads to stormwater pollution.

Intentionally blowing, washing or placing lawn debris in the street is a violation of City Ordinance Sec. 32-187. If you hire somone to do your lawn, it is your responsibility that they do not violate this ordinance.

For more information or to report a violation, please call (325) 676-6281.