With Autumn in full force and leaves beginning to fall from trees across town, Westport officials are reminding residents that town regulations prohibit the dumping of debris in wetlands or watercourses.
“Now that autumn has arrived, it seems like the yard work has only begun,” said Conservation Director Alicia Mozian. “Before long we’ll all be raking and hauling leaves in an effort to clean up, and looking for a way to dispose of leaves. As tempting as it may be, however, our wetlands and watercourses are not the place to be dumping leaves. “
Wetlands keep floodwaters within streams and their floodplains. When people use wetlands for leaf disposal, their natural ability to absorb water for flood control purposes can be compromised, said Mozian.
“If wetlands are filled with leaves or otherwise altered, the streams depending on them can run dry in summer months, creating undesirable stagnant pools where running water should be,” she said.
There are several options available to Westport residents for proper leaf disposal, including to compost leaves in the back yard within a fenced area or a composting receptacle, located at least 20 feet away from any wetland or watercourse.
Another option available to Westport residents with a valid sticker is to deliver leaves to the yard waste site at 180 Bayberry Lane, behind the Westport/Weston Health District.
Collected leaves in paper bags can be left on the side of the road from about the first week in November to the first week in December, when the Department of Public Works performs collections, according to Mozian.