News Flash

Stormwater Matters

Posted on: October 1, 2020

Learn the dos and don'ts of managing fall leaves

A picture containing outdoor, person, grass, child

Description automatically generatedIt’s finally fall…my favorite season. I feel like summer flew by and that March 2020 was only two months ago rather than six. But alas, fall is here, and I’m thrilled. I love the cooler temperatures, the beautiful leaf colors, the breeze, pumpkin lattes and donuts, football and the sound of a good marching band. The sights, sounds, and smells of fall bring back so many good childhood memories that make me smile.

Like most children, I enjoyed playing in the leaves. Making leaf piles and throwing leaves in the air. Even riding my bike through big leaf piles in the road, which I clearly recall my father warning me not to do.

leaf piles in road along curbNow, as an adult and homeowner, I see leaves in a different perspective. I still enjoy their beauty in the fall and making leaf piles for my kids, but I also realize the hassle they can present for those wishing to keep leaves off their lawns. As a town employee, I receive requests periodically from citizens that are concerned about large leaf piles being left along the curb in their subdivision. That can be problematic.


A fish swimming under water

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In a natural, undisturbed area leaves fall on the ground and remain in place to decay and integrate with the soil. That’s a good thing because decaying leaves release beneficial nutrients into the soil. However, in developed areas where leaves are piled up in the street, those same nutrients are concentrated and carried by stormwater runoff to the nearest stream. Nutrient build up in a stream can lead to algal blooms, which can be harmful to both humans and aquatic organisms, such as the flame chub, a fish species of concern in our watershed. In this case, the stream receives too much of a good thing. 

storm drain blocked with leavesAdditionally, leaf piles on the roads and sidewalks present a safety hazard for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians because they create slick conditions. They can also clog stormwater inlets and pipes leading to drainage issues and an increased chance of flooding.

Finally, it is against the town’s adopted property maintenance code to deposit the accumulation of leaves or yard clippings into a public road or sidewalk. Violation of this code may lead to a fine.



As a property owner, there are several acceptable ways to manage leaves on your property.

  • Leave the leaves. Mulch them in place on your lawn. You will benefit from the natural fertilizer released as the leaves decay.
  • Collect them and make compost. 
  • Hire a leaf collection company. Often, you can blow or rake the leaves into a pile near the front of your property and the company will vacuum them up. Just make sure the leaves remain on your property while awaiting removal rather than on the street or sidewalk. 
  • Take your leaves to a greenwaste disposal facility. Farragut does not have a publicly owned greenwaste facility nor does Knox County. Greenwaste facilities in Knox County are privately owned and charge fees for dropping off material. The following three locations in Knox County accept greenwaste (limbs, logs, brush, yard clippings, tree trimmings, leaves, etc.) for a disposal fee. 

Location

Phone

Address

Living Earth West

865- 927-7646

8707 Joe Daniels Rd

Living Earth East

865-546-0584

6323 Rutledge Pike

Living Earth Downtown

865-281-3388

2601 Middlebrook Pike

  • Burn it. Individuals wishing to burn brush must acquire a burn permit by visiting the Knox County Air Quality Management webpage or calling the office directly at 865-215-5900.

 

With falling temperatures come falling leaves. Please keep in mind the fate of the beautiful leaves we are fortunate to observe here in East Tennessee and enjoy the moments of fall that bring you joy.

Tree with beautiful autumn leaves next to a lake


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