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Bring leaves, yard waste to compost site, not street

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Bring leaves, yard waste to compost site, not street
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The leaves are falling and autumn yard work is in full swing. Homeowners and commercial vendors are reminded to either mulch their yard waste or bring it to the free compost sites available at the following locations:

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• Lakeview Township & City yard waste: South of Big Detroit on 125th Street, off 190th Ave.

• City yard waste: North on Highway 59 approximately 1.5 miles, off Hillcrest Rd

• County yard waste: Becker County transfer station located at 24413 County Road 144

The City has a nuisance ordinance that prohibits putting yard waste into the city streets, as it can create hazardous traffic conditions when wet and slippery, and plugs catch basins causing local flooding.

A bigger issue is the creation of phosphate runoff into our lakes.

According to Brad Green, City of Detroit Lakes Public Works director, "The tree leaves are a high source of phosphate that accelerates the algae and weed growth in our lakes."

It is OK to remove leaves and grass clippings from storm water catch basins and street in front of your home or neighborhood.

City workers are sweeping the streets and gutters, but if yard waste was added to the streets, the City doesn't have the equipment or time to pick up clippings before freeze up.

There are several yard waste tips on the city's Web site at www.ci.detroit-lakes.mn.us.

Tips for fall yard work:

• If leaves are less than 2 inches thick, mulch them by making several passes with a lawn mower. The shredded leaves will provide nutrients for your lawn. Another option is to compost leaves and grass clippings.

• Rake or sweep tree leaves and grass clippings from streets, driveways and sidewalks.

• Never dispose leaves or grass clippings in wetlands, lakes, rivers or streams.

• Keep street clean of other materials containing phosphorus, like grass clippings and eroded soil.

• If fertilizing is necessary, use a phosphorus free fertilizer. Minnesota's Phosphorus Lawn Fertilizer law requires phosphorus free fertilizer on established lawns unless a soil test shows the need for phosphorous.

• Leave your grass clippings where they lie.

• Mow regularly; clippings decompose quickly and release nutrients to the lawn. One season of grass clippings equals one fertilizer application.

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