WACO, Texas - It's the most wonderful time of the year. The leaves are changing and falling everywhere.
It may not seem like a big deal to leave them there (no pun intended), but they can cause more harm than good.
"But our educational project that we have in place is why we're talking to you today. Just trying to put the word out and encourage people to do the right thing," says City of Waco Environmental Inspector Anthony Betters.
And by "do the right thing", he means following the year-round ordinance warning homeowners about the damage blowing or racking their leaves into the streets can cause.
The City Water Department says all of this is extremely hard to police. As long as the leaves stay on your lawn, everything is okay. But when you get ready to dispose of it, once it ends up on the sidewalk, it can start plugging up the cities storm drains.
"Here we have a storm drain that drains to the Brazos River, where leaves can have an impact on the watershed. They can deplete the oxygen in the water and cause all kinds of detrimental impact to the Brazos River. And so, we have to constantly receive messages and complaints and try to follow up the best way we can," Betters said.
It can also result in fines. City officials also say if you're having a hard time getting rid of all the leaves they'll provide you with help.
City official Larry Holzy says, "Now, the City of Waco provides a green recycling cart and a blue recycling cart. The green is for all the grass clippings and leaves, and that's year around."
Mr. Betters says they need to do more to inform the public: "So the Don't Blow It campaign not only deals with the residence, but it also deals with companies as well. It's just.....look, we have to do the right thing to protect our watershed, and you cannot just the leaves into the storm drain. In fact, it's actually illegal."
For more information or to report illegal dumping: 254-299-CITY (2489)
Have more questions? Contact Waco Public Works Solid Waste Service: 254-299-2612
or go to: www.waco-texas.com/cms-solidwaste
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