City of Clinton

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Grass clippings in streets cause damage and injury

It's a familiar scene every summer: Someone is mowing a lawn and blowing the grass clippings into the street and storm drains.

Citizens are reminded that it is illegal to mow or place grass, leaves and other yard waste into the public streets, gutters and storm drains.

City officials encourage residents to mulch the grass, which is good for the lawn.

Blowing grass clippings onto the road is dangerous to drivers, motorcycles, bicyclists, harms local storm sewers and aquatic life.

City officials provided five reasons why blowing of grass clippings and leaves into the street is not a good idea:

It's illegal 

It is unlawful for any person to throw or deposit on any street or alley any  . . . grass, leaves, yard waste or debris  . . . which, if washed into the storm sewer, could clog the storm sewer.

It creates a roadway hazard

Grass clippings scattered into the roadway create a hazard for motorists, motorcycles and bicyclists.

When the clippings are wet, they become slippery, like ice. Motorcycle riders, for example, could crash if they hit the brakes or turn the wheel.

Dry grass clippings present a different kind of hazard for riders. They can blow up into a rider's face.

The clippings should be treated as rubbish, similar to household waste, glass or wastepaper, disposed of through the regular garbage collection or mulched back into the yard. 

Residents who violate the law could face a fine.

Grass clippings clog storm drains

Another big concern for municipal officials is that the grass clippings will wash into storm drains.

Grass clippings, along with other debris such as trash and leaves, can cause storm drains to clog, and intersections could flood when it rains, Brown said. Clogged drains also can cause water to back up into homes and businesses.

It hurts aquatic life

Municipal officials also are concerned about what goes into the storm water system.

Those grass clippings eventually could reach waterways and add excess nutrients, which could affect aquatic life.

When grass clippings make their way into the storm water system, they may be carrying fertilizers and other polluting lawn additives with them. Nitrogen that is beneficial to lawns is a product of the clippings, and that nitrogen can get into local storm systems, streams and rivers.

Please keep our city safe for motorists and our water ways clean by not blowing yard debris and clippings into the streets.