Many Jefferson City property owners are in the initial stages of their annual leaf cleanup.
City officials are encouraging residents to rake up their leaves and dispose in the following ways:
• Compost them for re-use as mulch and fertilizer around trees, flower beds or gardens on your own property.
• Drop the leaves off at the city's contracted community compost facility at 2417 Southridge Drive.
• Burn them when outdoor conditions are suitable for burning. The open burning season runs from Nov. 15 through March 15, 2014, during daylight hours only.
Another popular method of leaf disposal is to mulch them with a lawn mower and forego raking altogether.
Raking leaves into the street or the stormwater system - including open channels - is a violation of the city code. Leaves raked into the street clog grates on stormwater inlets and can result in localized flooding by blocking the flow of stormwater into the drainage system. Leaves piled on creek banks suffocate the established vegetation whose roots are holding the soil in place, accelerating creek bank erosion. Leaves naturally fall into creeks and decompose. When large quantities of leaves are disposed of in creeks, in addition to what naturally falls, the decomposition can reduce the amount of available oxygen for water-dwelling insects, fish and amphibians.
If possible during upcoming winter snow-removal activities, city officials said residents should avoid applying large amounts of salt or other chemical de-icing/melting agents to sidewalks and driveways. Sometimes it is easy or convenient to apply more salt or chemicals rather than to add additional material when necessary. But excess residual chemicals are washed directly into creeks and rivers when snow melts or when it rains.
Never dispose of anything in storm water inlets, open channels or other drainage ways. This includes pet waste and yard waste. Stormwater is not treated before it enters creeks, rivers or ponds. Pollutants transported by stormwater have a negative impact on receiving waters.
For more information, contact the city's stormwater division at 573-634-6410 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.