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Is there a fine for putting grass clippings in storm drains in New Hanover County?

Ken Little

In the city of Wilmington, violation of the code that prohibits disposal of yard waste into the city’s drainage system can result in a fine of up to $250. Such acts can be reported to the city using the Stormwater Pollution Hotline: (910) 341-1020.

According to the city code, Section 12-29, yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings and soil/sediment “can cause significant water quality problems when it is blown or directed into the stormwater system.”

City Storm Water Services Manager David Mayes says water quality problems like algal blooms, aquatic weed growth, oxygen depletion, fish kills and impaired aquatic habitat are possible, along with street and property flooding, when the stormwater system is clogged with yard waste.

According to the city code, “It shall be unlawful for any person to rake, sweep, blow, wash, direct or place any debris, including but not limited to yard waste, grass clippings, leaves, sediment, trash, or debris of any kind into the storm drainage system of the city, including any streets, storm drains, ditches, swales, streams, lakes, culverts, rights-of-way, dedicated easements, or in any other area where it might impede the flow of water.”

According to county ordinance Section 23-461 d.3, which covers prohibited discharges in New Hanover County, “It shall be unlawful to place grass clippings, leaves, trees and shrub clippings, or any other yard wastes in any street, storm drain, stream, stormwater conveyance, or any other location where concentrated stormwater flows will wash such wastes into the storm sewers.”

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