Breakdown: How leaves can lead to dangerous flooding

Breakdown: How leaves can lead to dangerous flooding

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - We all know that the purpose of the storm drains or catch basins are to collect all the runoff from snow or rain, and is no place for leaves, trash or other pollutants.

It might seem like no big deal to blow the leaf piles into the storm drain, but lets examine the effects.

A drain on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is blocked by leaves and debris. Unlike wastewater from bathrooms and sinks, the storm water sewer does not go through a treatment plant. Instead, JBM-HH’s separate storm water network feeds directly into streams that connect to the Chesapeake Bay. (Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall PAO photo by Rachel Larue)
A drain on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is blocked by leaves and debris. Unlike wastewater from bathrooms and sinks, the storm water sewer does not go through a treatment plant. Instead, JBM-HH’s separate storm water network feeds directly into streams that connect to the Chesapeake Bay. (Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall PAO photo by Rachel Larue) (Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall)

Storm drains are made to handle runoff and because of that, they discharge untreated water into waterways. When decomposing yard waste like leaves are left to accumulate, it can have negative effects. Street and yard flooding can occur and pipes can get blocked, which can damage local waterways. This can occur even if it is not raining heavily. The high levels of nutrients from the decomposing waste can be harmful to aquatic life.

Good to do:

• Before you clean up outside, pick up after your pet!

• Clean up your leaves and yard debris.

• Do not rake or blow leaves into the street where they can be washed into the storm drain.

• Rake leaves out of the ditches and storm drains.

• Consider using the leaves as mulch, mowing over them and leaving the finely-chopped debris on your yard.

• If you choose to compost your leaves, contain your compost in a bin.

• Never dump leaves or yard debris into ditches, streams, or other waterway.

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