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Stormwater pollution and yard waste in Clemmons

By Shannon Ford
For the Clemmons Courier

It’s fall in the Village of Clemmons, which means lots of raking is happening. The Village Public Works Department is hard at work collecting leaves, limbs and grass clippings. With so much collection of yard waste going on, fall is a good time to discuss how this waste can contribute to problems for our local waterways.

Leaves, limbs, grass and other organic materials can create several stormwater problems. The first happens at the source of stormwater collection: storm drains. As the saying goes, “Only rain goes down the drain,” and for good reason. If excess amounts of yard waste block storm drains, it can cause clogging, leading to localized flooding, delaying traffic and creating hazardous driving conditions.

The second problem occurs later on in the stormwater’s journey to its end source. Grass clippings contain large amounts of natural nutrients in addition to all of  the chemicals and fertilizers applied to our lawns. Once that yard waste reaches the stormwater’s ultimate destination, our streams and creeks, it results in excess algae growth as well as accelerated growth of aquatic weeds. The algae and weeds deplete oxygen in the water, which can kill fish and make the surface of the water unsightly.

Residents in Clemmons can help combat these problems by responsibly gathering their yard waste and following the leaf and limb pickup schedule set forth by the Public Works department:

  • Leaves and grass should be placed at the edge of your street by 7 a.m. on Monday morning of the following schedule between April and November:
    • First and third week of the month: East of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Middlebrook Drive (Winston-Salem side)
    • Second and fourth week of the month: West of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Middlebrook Drive (Tanglewood side) second and fourth week of the month
  • Limbs should be placed at the edge of your street by 7 a.m. on Monday morning of the following schedule between March and November.
    • Second full week of the month: East of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Middlebrook Drive (Winston-Salem side)
    • First full week of the month: West of Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Middlebrook Drive (Tanglewood side)

As an additional note, 2021 will be the final year for collection of grass clippings in Clemmons, but 2022 will see the continuation of leaf and limb pickup. The village recommends several options to replace the collection of grass:

  • Use a mulching mower.
  • More frequent mowing with a conventional mower and letting the grass clippings decompose on the lawn.
  • Composting of grass clippings (along with other organic materials) and recycled use of natural resources.
  • When hiring a landscaper, confirm removal of all yard waste debris is included in the scope of work and quote.

More information and education regarding alternatives to grass clipping collection will be distributed in spring 2022. For more information on the Clemmons Stormwater Department, go to www.clemmons.org/stormwater or call 336-766-9170.

Shannon Ford is director of marketing and communications for the Village of Clemmons.