To The Daily Sun,
The Belknap County Conservation District (BCCD) would like to remind landowners that disposing of yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, branches, and pet waste) in brooks, streams, ponds, lakes or storm drains often helps to create problems in our waterways such excess algae growth and an increased potential for flooding. Yard waste contains many of the same ingredients you'll find in fertilizer; high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements. This 'fertilizer' helps to feed and increase the amount of unwanted water organisms such as algae, and in the case of pet waste may carry harmful pathogens such as e coli and salmonella.
While it is true that some leaves naturally find their way into our waters the dumping of large amounts of leaves by landowners, multiplied over and over by many landowners living along stream banks and shorelines, has a meaningful accumulated effect. The same is true of materials and liquids dumped into storm drains because these drain directly into our surface waters without treatment; they do not drain to the waste water treatment plant as do our sewers.
Yard waste that accumulates in shallow areas or narrow water passages may act like a drain clog and cause flooding upstream or fill in areas of shoreline. Many towns provide landowners a managed site to dump yard waste, for those that do not, please consider composting at home. For more information on where to dispose of yard waste in your town please contact your local Department of Public Works or Town Hall. For more information on composting yard waste visit website www.belknapccd.org.
Lisa Morin, Program Coordinator
Belknap County Conservation District
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