Rake your leaves, save a drain

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When I was a kid growing up in a small town in Kansas, we raked leaves in the fall, piled them on the dirt street out front and burned them. Even now, the smell of smoldering leaves instantly transports me back to that bygone time.

But burning leaves in the city, of course, is illegal, and sweeping them into the street makes for a big headache for city crews charged with keeping storm sewers flowing.

Like, we don't already have a big enough problem with storm drainage that we should plug up the system with leaves?

That's why the city Street Division urges you to either mulch the leaves and use them for composting in your yard, or take them to one of the city's drop-off locations to be composted. The drop points are:

Saturdays, Nov. 3 and 10
Recycle Yard at Hancock (1845 S. Hancock Expressway)
Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

November 19 — November 30
Hancock Salt Shed (1202 E. Caramillo St.)
Staffed Monday — Friday, 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

The city also advises:

If leaves are brought in plastic bags, the bags will need to be emptied and taken with the resident. Hazardous materials, plastics, branches and other items are not allowed. Leaves will be taken to the City Street Division’s recycle yard and turned into compost, which is given away free to residents each spring.
Rocky Top Resources (1755 East Las Vegas Street) also takes leaves for recycling (residential only) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Recycling is free with a canned good donation for Care and Share.
Composting is a good option for leaves and yard debris because according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it is a form of recycling that prevents filling our landfills, helps prevent pollution, enriches soils and reduces the production of methane gas.


In coming weeks, street sweepers will start eliminating excess leaf build-up in streets to prevent clogging of inlets and drains, which in turn cause flooding. So do your part to prevent drainage problems. Keep your leaves to yourself or recycle them responsibly.

And remember, blowing leaves and yard debris into the street or drains is a violation of city code, which can trigger a fine.

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