In Your Community | In Your Home
Keep Leaves Out of Drains
Autumn leaves may be beautiful, but when they’re swept into catch basins and block storm drains, they contribute to flooding. Natural dams are created, catching more leaves and litter and inhibiting the flow of water. When the leaves eventually decompose, the nutrients they release can lead to excessive algae growth in our waterways, which harms aquatic life.
Do your part to limit the leaves that ride with the rain by mulching or composting them, or bagging them in proper containers for curbside pickup. Vacuum service is also available for a fee. You can find the City of Richmond leaf collection pickup schedule here.
Install a Rain Barrel
When it rains, precipitation often falls upon hard surfaces like roads, parking lots, and rooftops. Unfortunately, this is where it picks up contaminants like nitrogen, phosphorous, oils, and pesticides. If nothing is done to slow the flow, the water then rushes to storm drains and local streams, eroding our banks and polluting our waterways.
This is why installing rain barrels is so beneficial. Rain barrels collect stormwater from your roof and keep it out of our waterways. You can use it to wash your car, water your indoor plants, and beautify your yard.
Plus, utilizing the water collected in rain barrels can save you money: A national survey conducted by DC Urban Gardeners said that rain barrels can lower water bills by about $35 a month in the summer. After you install your rain barrel, you may even be eligible for a stormwater credit! To find out if you qualify and to apply, visit the City of Richmond site.
Plant a Tree
You probably know that trees produce oxygen, which we need to breathe. But did you know that they also help prevent soil erosion? Trees’ branches and leaves help to slow rain, and their roots hold soil in place and absorb water. In urban areas like Richmond, trees help reduce the urban heat island effect (higher temperatures caused by buildings and concrete) by providing shade and cooling the environment, ultimately reducing energy costs.
Don’t just plant trees for yourself – they’re also natural habitats for the birds and insects that keep our ecosystem going. Find some seedlings and get planting!