The Darien Environmental Protection Commission reminds residents that lawn clippings and leaves should not be dumped in any wetlands or watercourses.

The town's leaf pick-up starts the first week in November.

Yard debris impacts and degrades wetlands over time by creating filled areas over the soils, impairing the wetlands' natural functions. Wetlands act as natural sponges that help control drainage and flood waters during periods of heavy rainfall, and slowly release water that lessens the effect of droughts.

The use of these areas as dump sites also prohibits the growth of valuable plant species. Leaf material and lawn clippings, once deposited in a watercourse, such as a pond or stream, begin to decompose. The decomposition process introduces excess nutrients and depletes the oxygen levels in the waters. This is a form of pollution that negatively impacts vegetation and wildlife in the waters of Darien, including Long Island Sound.

Other pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides may also be contained in the leaves and lawn clippings and will be released into the waters upon decomposition. Dumping within streams not only causes flood problems for downstream neighbors, but also contributes to the need for high-cost dredging projects.

Property owners are asked to find proper methods of yard waste disposal or to speak with and correctly advise their yard maintenance contractor.

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