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With fall weather finally arriving in the Village of Park Forest, officials remind residents not to rake their leaves into the streets.
Leaves, like other yard waste, can clog storm drains, which can cause street flooding. The drains are vital during storms when a high volume of water would otherwise cause flooding.
Also known as catch basins or inlets, storm drains are the entryway for water to enter the sewer system and represent the first step in storm water collection and disposal. Park Forest has 1,800 storm drains in town.
When storm drains get clogged with leaves and debris, water can no longer be drained from the street. As a result, water can flood streets, causing hazardous conditions and flooding homes. Monitoring and cleaning catch basins is essential to prevent street flooding, property damage, and other hazards.
Residents can dispose of yard waste on Tuesdays by using 30-gallon biodegradable paper bags available at most local hardware stores. For collection, a Star Disposal sticker must be purchased and placed on those yard waste bags.
Star Disposal stickers are available at Village Hall. The current sticker price (2023) is $3.00/each, which usually increases yearly on Jan 1. Click here for more information.
The Village doesn't pick up leaves, but residents can dispose of them by doing a few things:
The simplest, easiest way to use the leaves is to mow over them with a mulching mower so that the leaf pieces can fall down between the grass blades. The leaf pieces will release nutrients as they decompose.
The next-simplest alternative is to collect the leaves and spread them around shrubs, trees, or vegetables so they can work as mulch.
Mulch moderates soil temperature, prevents erosion and evaporation, significantly reduces weed problems, and provides nutrients for plant roots as they decompose.
A third option for using falling leaves is to compost them. Composting leaves takes more commitment than mulching them, but it creates a nutrient-rich mix that can be mixed with soil to help plants thrive.