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City of Alexandria reminds residents to keep streets free of leaves

Even though leaves are a part of the environment, they can be harmful to lakes and water bodies if they're not disposed of correctly, city officials said.

Leaves in Street.jpg
Blowing or raking leaves onto streets can be harmful to lakes.
Contributed photo
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ALEXANDRIA — The City of Alexandria is reminding residents to keep the streets and storm sewer free of leaves.

Even though leaves are a part of the environment, they can be harmful to lakes and water bodies if they're not disposed of correctly, city officials said. They provided the following information.

Leaves contain phosphorus, an essential nutrient for plant growth. As the leaves decompose, they release the phosphorus that was inside the leaf. When it rains, leaves that are on the roadway will be carried by runoff into the storm sewer, which eventually outfalls to a pond, lake, ditch or wetland.

The water body is where the phosphorus will be released, causing algal growth and excessive algae blooms. Five bags of leaves are equivalent to one pound of phosphorus, which is capable of producing 1,000 pounds of algae in a lake.

Therefore, leaves should never be raked or blown onto the road or into waterways. Instead of raking or blowing leaves from your property, mulch leaves by running over them with a lawnmower. Leaves and grass clippings are great fertilizers for your lawn. Also, leaves can be raked into a compost pile for a nutrient-rich fertilizer for gardening or plant growth next spring. Some trash collection services also collect yard waste, which is another great place to dispose of leaves.

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