Fallen leaves and grass clippings can plug storm drains, flooding our roads and harming our creeks. When grass clippings and too many decomposing leaves are put in our streams, unnaturally high levels of nutrients can harm aquatic wildlife, and standing water on our roadways can create unsafe travel conditions.
The Bellingham Municipal code prohibits yard waste disposal down storm drains or onto city streets, BMC 15.42.050. To prevent flooding and maintain water quality, do not leave yard waste to decompose on creek banks.
What You Can Do
- Keep all fallen leaves and grass clippings on your property; off of the sidewalks and out of the streets.
- Set your lawn mower to mulch and mow high. Taller grass retains moisture and catches grass clippings. Mow often enough that grass clippings are shorter than the remaining lawn and can be trapped on your lawn. If you choose to collect grass clippings, follow any of the options below.
- Place them in your FoodPlus container. Contact the Sanitary Service Company for more information about the FoodPlus program.
- Compost leaves on site away from storm drains, wetlands and streams. Contain your compost to keep nutrient-rich water from leaching into the storm system.
- Visit the Whatcom County Solid Waste Division for Whatcom County drop-off sites.
- If you see flooding or water over a roadway, please:
- Do not drive through standing water. It can be difficult to see any drop-offs or underlying street damage.
- If there are “street closed / water on roadway” signs posted DO NOT drive through. It can be difficult to see any drop-offs or underlying street damage.
- Be proactive about protecting your property from floodwaters, especially if you may need sandbags.
- If you see a storm drain that is clogged and can clear it without placing yourself in danger, please remove the leaves. Use a rake to help you reach the leaves without entering the street. Residents are not expected to work in the road to remove leaves.
- Report problems with clogged storm drains or street flooding to Public Works: