Keep Leaves and Grass Out of Storm Drains

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.

 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 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.