While leaves have begun to fall in Rochester and southeast Minnesota, it means it is time to clean up your leaves to help improve aquatic wildlife and improve water quality.

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According to a news release from the City of Rochester, the leaves falling feed algae and turn lakes and rivers green if they enter the waterways. If leaves are not removed from Rochester streets and sidewalks, leaves can enter waterways through the storm sewers when it rains.

Photo From City of Rochester
Photo From City of Rochester

Rochester Public Works is asking Rochester citizens to help aquatic wildlife and improve water quality by removing leaves from streets and sidewalks to compost them. The city gave several ways residents can help including:

  • Rake Leaves! Remove leaves from your curb line, sidewalks, and driveways.
  • Mulch leaves in your yard or make a backyard compost site for them.
  • Compost. Take leaves to the Olmsted County compost site, free of charge, at 305 Silver Creek Road NE, just across from the recycling center.
  • Sign up for adopt-a-drain! www.adopt-a-drain.org Volunteer to take care of a storm drain by keeping it clear and clean.
  • Help the street sweepers: Place your waste and recycling bins on the boulevard or in your driveway rather than in the street. Park your vehicles in the driveway if possible.
Photo from City of Rochester
Photo from City of Rochester

The City of Rochester does have six street sweepers that clean the 500+ mile network of city streets. The street sweepers sweep around 9,500 miles every year, according to Rochester Public Works, and during the fall it is most efficient for the fleet to sweep leaves once they are all off the trees.

The City’s street sweeping program is not designed to pick up leaves from private property that are raked into the street. City of Rochester Ordinance Chapter 6-4 section 6-4-1 prohibits illicit discharges, including grass clippings and leaves, to the stormwater system. Illicit discharges are subject to enforcement per the Ordinance

You can find more information on this here.

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