CENTERVILLE, Iowa -- Centerville city administrators and law enforcement officials are asking citizens to clean up their grass clippings from city streets or face fines up to $160.
“Well one of the biggest dangers that we’ve heard lately honestly is to motorcycle riders,” said Centerville police chief Tom Demry. “If they’re driving through and they hit the grass clippings they’ve told us it’s kind of like hitting glass or ice.”
Danger to motorists isn’t the only major issue with leaving grass clippings in the street. City manager Jason Fraser noted that if grass clippings find their way to storm sewers they can cause major issues with the local water supply. Grass clippings and other organic matter can increase the nitrogen levels in the water system and cause the development of algae blooms in rivers and lakes. Those blooms increase oxygen in the water which in turn kills fish and makes the water taste and smell less than desirable.
“You saw the big algae blooms in the lake last summer that made the water taste funny and smell funny. Part of the reason that occurred is because someone upstream wasn’t responsible in keeping organic matter out of the system.”
Grass clippings also cause storm drain blockages that create flooding during heavy rainfall. Clean up projects take city workers away from other jobs like fixing potholes.
City officers ask that if you do throw clippings into the street while mowing that you clean them up when you’re done to keep fellow citizens safe and the water supply clean.