There is a person in my neighborhood who spends 15 minutes a few days a week raking leaves from the gutters leading to the storm drains to the top of the hill. He then puts them in an old garbage roll-out marked “Yard,” but he then takes them to his backyard. He’s been doing this for the past ten years.

When people ask him why he does that, he has many reasons:

1. As an engineer who has worked in environmental protection, he knows the leaves washed into the storm drains end up in local streams, and they can dam the stream adding gasses to the water as the leaves decompose that can harm the aquatic life;

2. As an engineer who has worked with roadways in the Northeast, he knows that leaves in the gutters block the flow of water, which leads to puddles, flooding and roadway icing;

3. He has a canine who spends most of his time in the backyard, and leaves make a great bedding and nest - especially in the cooler weather;

4. When the canine lays on the leaves, he hastens their crushing and decomposition;

5. The crushed leaves quickly become topsoil;

6. Those leaves not used for bedding are used as mulch around trees;

7. His yard has many trees, and many of the collected leaves are from his trees;

8. The raking motion works on the upper-body like paddling a canoe; and,

9. The town runs their street sweeper on the road a couple times a year, but they can’t collect all the leaves from all the roads before the leaves cause issues on the roadways and the connected waterways.

Burning leaves is a fire hazard, and unnecessary since all municipalities in Mecklenburg County collect yard waste. The yard waste outside the City of Charlotte can be in plastic/metal containers (garbage cans), plastic or paper bags.

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