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County Officials: Please Don't Sweep Leaves Into Streets

Keeping storm sewers clear reduces street flooding, officials say

With the leaves beginning to change colors and flutter to the ground, it won't be long before Ocean County residents are raking them up.

When you do, however, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders is asking that residents not simply dump their leaves in the streets, where they eventually wind up in storm drains.

"Please be civic-minded and pay attention to the catch basins," Freeholder James Lacey said. Keeping them clear of leaves will reduce or prevent street flooding in heavy rains.

The county has roughly 10,000 storm sewers along the roads and the county roads department -- to which Lacey is the liaison -- has two crews of seven employees each (14 people total) dedicated to cleaning and maintaining the basins, Lacey said.

"We try to clean each basin once a year," said Thomas Curcio, the roads supervisor.

"We could probably get twice as many cleaned if we didn't have all the red tape," Freeholder John C. Bartlett said.

When the county's vacuum trucks suck the sand and debris out of a storm drain, it has to be screened, sorted recorded, tested for pollutants, and dried before it can be discarded -- it cannot just be dumped in a landfill, Bartlett said.

Because the rules are so stringent, many municipalities have simply stopped cleaning the drains, Bartlett said. "So whatever's in there is going into the Toms River anyway," he said.

In the end, the fewer the leaves in the sewers, the less debris for the trucks to have to clean out, Lacey said.

patch THIS October 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Be careful around the basin at the end of Holly Place - it's been reported that a wolverine lives in it.
Berkeley Lifer October 04, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Maybe the Town should clean the leaves out of the storm drains? It was much better when we were allowed to burn the leaves in the 70's.
Chief Wahoo October 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
the houses in SSP have hardly any leaves at all, guess thats why we had our property taxes TRIPLED
Xavier October 05, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Last I checked, in Barnegat we're SUPPOSED to sweep them into the road so the township can collect them. So, what now?

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