Keep leaves and pollutants out of storm drains

To the Editor:

This is the time of year for raking the leaves and a reminder that they don't belong in the storm drains.

Actually nothing should go into the storm drains except rain. The leaves, for instance will clog the drains and can cause flooding. Especially harmful is motor oil, dog feces (coliform bacteria), fertilizers and pesticides. Another reminder, there is a law which is punishable for illegal dumping. There is a city ordinance for homeowners which requires that they keep the street gutters swept clean. That is the area along the road in front of your home. By doing this, you are being a good partner in protecting Long Island Sound, as whatever goes into those storm drains ends up in the Sound.

The good news is, if you leave the leaves on your lawn and go over them with a mulching lawnmower, it will not only fertilize the lawn, but help make it more resistant to drying out during droughts. It will in addition make for a more cushiony surface for walking and playing, but best of all, it will save you money and protect the Sound as you won't have to use high nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides which end up in the Sound.

The high nitrogen fertilizers cause algae blooms. When they die, their decomposition consumes oxygen from the waters in the Sound. The low levels of dissolved oxygen that result impairs the feeding, growth and reproduction of the Sound's aquatic life. It is believed that pesticides are one of the causes for the reduction of lobsters in the Sound.

The DEEP, Department of Environment, Energy Protection, is committed to helping prevent Non-point Source Pollution and improve the quality of the water in Long Island Sound.

Be a good steward and not only protect yourself, your family and children, but Long Island Sound, our most precious natural resource.

Ann Berman, Freedom Lawn chairman