Help Stop Pollution and Flooding This Fall: Keep Leaves Out of Storm Drains, Streams, Rivers, and Lakes

You can help stop pollution and flooding! Keep leaves out of our storm drains, streams, rivers, and lakes.

Keep Our Rivers, Lakes, Streams, and Ponds Clean – Bag Your Leaves!

Bag, mulch, or compost your leaves, but do not rake them into the street or dump them down storm drains! Blocking storm drains can cause flooding, and large amounts of leaves in our water can lead to an excess of decaying organic material in waterways with results that are harmful to both humans and animals.

Why do leaves cause water pollution?

Leaves are an important part of the natural environment. Left on land, leaves decompose, feeding your plants and enriching your soil. But when large amounts of leaves are washed off our lawns, down our driveways, into storm drains, and into our water bodies, they release phosphorus and nitrogen into our water, contributing to water pollution.

These elevated levels of nutrients in our water:

  • Cause “blue-green algae,” or cyanobacteria blooms, which are toxic to both humans and wildlife and are considered a public health hazard
  • Kill fish through the depletion of oxygen in the water, called “eutrophication”
  • Cause the growth of large amounts of algae and invasive plants, choking up the waterway

How YOU Can Make a Difference:

Keep leaves out of the storm drain and your rivers, lakes, and ponds!

  • Bag your leaves for curbside pick-up.
  • Mix your leaves into your compost pile, creating a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants.
  • Use a mulching mower and create mulch from your leaves to use in flower beds.

How Do I Dispose of Bagged Leaves?

It's as easy as setting the bags out to the curb on Yard Waste days! You can view the Yard Waste & Hazardous Waste Calendar image below, download the PDF, look up your collection schedule with the Waste Wizard, or check the Environmental Service Guide we mail to all Somerville households each April. You can also print your own copy of the guide online here. If you would like to have a guide mailed to you, please contact 311 (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville).

PDF preview links to yard waste calendar PDF