Q. I read your “Keep yard clippings out of garbage bins” column in the Advocate. Good reminders and information; however, you did not mention anything about grass clippings left on streets and street curbs. In my neighborhood, several people cut their lawns and leave a huge mess of grass clipping on the curb, or wherever the clippings end up. Some of them sweep clippings into the drains; others just leave them on the curbs to later end up on the street, down the curb and into the drain or down someone else’s curb. What is the proper way to dispose of grass clippings, and how should we report people who do not pick them up or who sweep them down a storm drain?
I also wanted to add, I think there is a city code that prohibits leaving trash cans out. I am amazed at people with nice homes making the main front feature of their home an open garage door full of junk and the trash cans.
A. Education is the answer. The city can’t always respond quickly enough to catch violators in the act. So, Solid Waste and Environmental Department supervisors keep warning notices in their cars as they drive around the city. Violators can get two warnings before there is an investigation, and most times, educating the public about the harm to our water supply solves the problem.
People who leave grass clippings after mowing their lawns or, worse yet, sweep them into the storm drains are indeed violating at least two city codes. One, Chapter 10, Sec. 10-29, states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to discard of leaves, grass, weeds or other vegetable matter by blowing or sweeping or otherwise depositing said items into a street or gutter of the city.” Proper disposal would include either blowing the clippings back into the yard, putting them in a yard waste bin to be picked up by the city or putting them in their regular garbage bin. You can report violations in a number of ways: Call Public Works at 361-485-3381 or Code Enforcement at 361-485-3330, call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 361-573-3221 or go to victoriatx.org/residents/customer-service-request to make a report anonymously.
Why is it a big deal? Kristina Stanley, environmental health and stormwater inspector with the Victoria County Public Health Department, wrote in her May 14 column for the Advocate: “Lakes, rivers and wetlands are the backbone of our watersheds. Fertilizer washing into drains from lawns and fields can cause overgrowth of algae and deplete oxygen for life in ponds … We can all make individual choices to help reduce the problem.”
Additionally, leaving grass clippings on the street can cause them to take root and damage the street.
As to your second question, City Code 13-174 states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to place or leave any residential container, empty or otherwise, on or near the curb after 8 p.m. on the designated collection day or before 8 p.m. on the day before collection day.”