STORMWATER STRAIGHT TALK: Yard Waste - Proper Disposal is Important

  • Published
  • Robins Public Affairs

Yard clippings and fallen leaves, if not properly disposed, can accumulate in drainage systems and clog sewer pipes. Clogged pipes cause storm drain overflows leading to street or yard flooding. In addition, accumulated yard waste in drainage systems can case pollution of our waterways and increased maintenance costs with only a moderate amount of rain.

In addition, yard clippings and waste may contain fertilizers, like phosphorus. When added to streams, ponds and wetlands, fertilizers encourage lush growth of pond weeds and algae in the spring that can reduce the amount of oxygen in the water needed to sustain fish and aquatic life. In severe cases, this accumulation of phosphorus can contribute to the growth of cyanobacteria blooms that can be toxic to people and animals, interfering with our ability to use these water bodies for fishing and swimming. Herbicides may also be present on yard clippings, which can cause impacts to the downgradient aquatic ecosystem.

There are many ways you can help keep our water clean by implementing your own best management practices when maintaining your yards. The following are a few examples of things you can do to help minimize stormwater pollution:

- Rake and bag accumulated leaves
- Dispose of bagged yard waste in accordance with your household waste pickup provider
- Never dump yard waste in waterways or wetlands
- Compost your yard waste at home away from drainage paths and storm drains
- Keep paved areas and storm drains clear of leaves
- Mow your lawn regularly so that the clippings and leaves are easily mulched into small pieces and integrated into your yard, which provides natural fertilization

By keeping up with these simple acts, you can help keep waterways around Robins Air Force Base clean and safe.

For more information, call 472-2526.

Editor’s Note: Stormwater Straight Talk is a quarterly column intended to educate and inform base personnel and families about stormwater management.