Beaufort city leaders are urging residents to follow rules for disposing of yard debris in order to keep drainage systems clear.
Recent heavy rains, coupled with annual leaf fall from live oaks and residents' efforts to keep lawns clear, have put too much debris in the street, City Manager Scott Dadson said in a news release.
Leaves in the street can cover and clog drainage grates and pipes -- causing surface flooding -- and damage the city's street sweeper.
Plus, dirt and other debris in the drainage system can affect water quality in area rivers and estuaries, which in turn affects shrimp, oysters and other marine life.
"Blowing leaves onto the street seems like a simple solution to cleaning up your yard, but it creates major problems now and in the future," Dadson said in the release. The city upgraded its drainage and stormwater management system recently, and Dadson said everyone's help was needed in order to maintain the system.
Within city limits, it's against the law to damage or obstruct a ditch, drain or watercourse. Fines can be up to twice the amount of the damage done. It's also illegal to put any debris in ditches along roads or property boundaries or in culverts, which carries a $1,087 fee.
Ten bags or less of yard debris, such as leaves or grass clippings, can be picked up on regular garbage days.
If a resident has more than 10 bags of debris, or branches, pick-up is done by a special truck on Thursdays and Fridays. Call Waste Pro at 645-4100 to arrange the pick-up.
Waste Pro takes the yard debris to a soil reclamation center, where the leaves, grass and branches are burned and mixed with soil to create compost. The Greenery then uses the compost to landscape city property.