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The County of DuPage
Wheaton, Illinois

Press Release

Contact Information: Mary Mitros 630-407-6706

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DuPage County Residents Reminded to Dispose of Leaves Properly this Fall

DuPage County Stormwater Management and Public Works’ Drainage Division are reminding residents to dispose of leaves properly this fall to reduce localized flooding and water quality impairments.

In autumn, leaves are often blown or swept into storm drains and waterways and can become a source of water pollution. Once they reach waterways, leaves decompose and release nutrients into the water, which can result in algae blooms and decreased oxygen for fish.

“We all live in a watershed. Many people may not realize that most everything entering storm drains eventually runs into our rivers and streams,” said DuPage County Stormwater Management Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “Unintentional pollution reaches our waterways this way year-round.”

However, pollutants are not the only problem. Leaves can also build up along curbs, gutters and storm drains, which blocks stormwater runoff from entering this drainage infrastructure. Should a large rain event occur, this can lead to localized flooding.

DuPage County residents can help to keep 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. While the organic debris is not ideal for aquatic life, composted leaves and other organic materials are an excellent resource for fertilizing your garden in the summer months. It provides necessary nutrients, while also reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
• Leaves can be chopped into small pieces using a mulching mower, which will decompose directly on lawns. The leaf pieces can also be collected and spread around flowerbeds and shrubs as mulch.
• If recycling leaves in-house is not an option, residents may bring leaves to DuPage Yard Waste (1195 W. Washington St., West Chicago) for a fee. To transport, collect leaves in a secure and properly sealed paper bag to ensure they do not blow into storm sewers or streams.

Residents may also contact their local municipality or waste hauler for information on leaf removal services.

“If we add some of these simple steps to our normal leaf removal routines, we can really make a difference in both flood control and water quality,” added Chairman Zay.

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