Sound Off

Sound off: Is it legal to mow your grass clippings into the street?

Mowing your grass clippings into the street is a violation of the city’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Code. The city’s code states that no person shall release or cause to be released into the storm drainage system any discharge that is not composed entirely of uncontaminated storm water. Common stormwater contaminants include trash, yard waste, lawn chemicals, pet waste, wastewater, oil, petroleum products, cleaning products, paint products, hazardous waste and sediment. The city’s Stormwater Division can be reached at 832-3143.


DillonBarnes 6 years, 1 month ago

Can't think of a better way to describe it. Good grief!

areyouserious 6 years ago

Can the city get a ticket when they plow my driveway shut????

Liberty_Or_Death 6 years ago

That's happened to me twice with no prior warning, they also wrote me a ticket for a one inch line of grass that entered the street from my corner property bordered by two major roads, these roads and their respective drivers liter my property with trash daily that I take the time to pick up constantly for free because I care about our town... something is very wrong with that dynamic!

parrothead8 6 years, 1 month ago

Does the city code apply to city crews cutting grass in the median?

Liberty_Or_Death 6 years ago

D*mn good point especially considering my city property essentially contains a median I'm privately responsible for and this is a perfect example of the political hypocrisy we good community oriented folk must put up with on a daily basis!? Does anyone else have their eyes open? Why does the city allow people to litter my property all day as they drive by and then ticket me for a few specs of grass the wind blows into the synthetic asphalt pathway...

deec 6 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone ticketing the stray cats and other critters that live in the sewers?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years ago

Who all eventually end up becoming "contaminants" when we get flash floods.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 6 years, 1 month ago

That effectively makes lawns illegal. You're all under arrest! WEEE!~)

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

In The Peoples Republic of Lawrence grass clippings will land you in the Gulag.

tomatogrower 6 years, 1 month ago

Most cities have this same rule RD, and you know it. Most cities also don't enforce it unless someone dumps all their trimmings in the street. They are just trying to keep the drains cleared, so when it rains it will drain and not back up into your house. They aren't going to ticket someone for a little grass getting blown into the street during mowing. Of course, this year grass probably won't be a problem. Brownback wanted Kansas to be more like Texas, so God has decided we needed to have their drought as well. If anything, people who baby their grass will be angry, because they aren't allowed to water it to preserve water for things like drinking, bathing, etc.

Greg Cooper 6 years ago

Excellent segue to Brownbback and religion.

Liberty_Or_Death 6 years ago

Wow, like Devine intervention or something!

purplesage 6 years, 1 month ago

Using air and taking up space will soon be against city code. This is a dastarly crime, indeed.

nut_case 6 years, 1 month ago

Well, exhaling... carbon dioxide... is already taxed.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 1 month ago

Follow-up question: has anyone ever been ticketed for this offense?

OPColt 6 years, 1 month ago

I mow my yard but i do not bag the grass. So i guess if the loose grass blows off my lawn into the street, then that is illegal?

Steve Stucky 6 years, 1 month ago

No. That would not be your fault. It would be the wind. GD that wind!

OPColt 6 years, 1 month ago

I mow my yard but i do not bag the grass. So i guess if the loose grass blows off my lawn into the street, then that is illegal?

Ken Lassman 6 years ago

Then this is pretty much a non-issue unless someone is flagrantly dumping, like a lawn service dumping lawn clippings into the street gutter. As per usual, much ado about nothing.

salad 6 years, 1 month ago

I think the intention is to prevent people from raking all their leaves into the street in the fall, so they have to classify it as "yard waste". I have seen a giant pile of grass in the gutter before, but not like all the lazy b@$&*!!#'s who rake their leaves into the gutter thinking that somehow they'll magically disappear or that the city will sweep them up. Those are the poeple this ordinance was for, and who should be cited.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years ago

Actually... the city WILL sweep that up. Street sweepers come by on a regular basis.

HutchSaltHawk 6 years ago

Some cities, for example St Louis, ask citizens to sweep their leaves into the gutter and the city comes by and sweep up the leaves for composting.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

I read this article very late last night. Then, I went to bed and dreamed I was mowing a lawn. It was very hard work and it wore me out. I am still tired from it.

Can I sue? Or at least get paid for mowing that lawn?

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

This is a pretty standard ordinance for NPDES Phase II cities across the nation. Limiting the amount of organic material being discharged into the storm sewer helps reduce phosphorus/nitrogen loads in the receiving water (most likely the Kansas or Wakarusa river).

A few clippings isn't going to be substantially harmful, but it's the a-holes who knowingly dump bags and bags of grass/organic material into stormdrains should be penalized.

Topple 6 years ago

I thought organic was synonymous with good. Isn't dumping organic material like giving the sewer a vitamin booster?

Amy Heeter 6 years, 1 month ago

Well then the city should go after buckinghsm palace cleaning service, because they dump dirty cleaning water in gutters per owner's direction.

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

You should probably make a report to the Stormwater Department then:

Stormwater Engineering (785) 832-3142

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 1 month ago

"Illegal ain't nothin' but a sick bird." - HJH

MarcoPogo 6 years, 1 month ago

Is it illegal for me to pee in my own yard?

mdlund0 6 years, 1 month ago

Apparently, so long as it doesn't reach the storm sewer. But really, wouldn't the ticket be worth it anyway?

mdlund0 6 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I really messed that analysis up.. time for another cup of coffee.

blogme 6 years, 1 month ago

Either it's a troll posting these sound off stories or the LJWorld is taking questions from some serious cry babies. This one is about as obvious as "If I break the law, am I really breaking the law?" I can't believe space, or bytes in this case, in supposedly a "NEWS"paper, is being wasted on carp like this. Nice job LJWorld. Seriously, this is as good as it gets? What's the next most obvious thing you can post as a sound off question?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Maybe it will be along the lines of:

"Why do people that don't like to read the 'Sound Off' questions, answers, and comments read them anyway?"

John Hamm 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh this is way too much. Are you trying to tell me a person can't allow grass clippings to fall into the street because they'll make their way into the storm drainage system. Might I remind the great all knowing City leaders that tree leaves fall into the street, their own mowing people blow cut grass and other trimmings into the street and that, imho, there are far too many imbeciles running this city who have absolutely no idea what they are doing. Good grief!

Hooligan_016 6 years, 1 month ago

You realize that the City has to do routine maintenance on stormdrains to remove leaves and other debris to keep the pipes unclogged ...

acg 6 years, 1 month ago

Sniff, Snivel, Whine! This is going to be my stock response to all of these whiny sound offs where some snivelly little a** is snivelling about BS.

irvan moore 6 years, 1 month ago

if the ljw was smart they would change their phone number

Shane Powers 6 years, 1 month ago

Like children in the back seat on a long trip. "Mooooommm...her grass clippings are getting in my storm drain!" "UH-UH, HE RAN A SMALL ENGINE REPAIR SHOP IN HIS GARAGE FIRST!!" Someone needs to pull over and come back there!

David Albertson 6 years ago

So let me get this straight. I can only use half of MY driveway because the city owns the half that the sidewalk crosses, and that's a no parking zone. I can't park on my own grass. I can't leave snow on my sidewalk for more than 24 hours. I can't blow my grass clippings in to the street. I can't turn the radio up in my car, or my house. I can't smoke at a resturant, bar, etc.. I can't rent my house out without the city's permission, and paying a fee of course. If my house is old, I have to ask permission to make any improvements. Are there any other liberties I have to part with to become a member of your perfect society?

Hooligan_016 6 years ago

You must get along great with your neighbors.

sleepy33 6 years ago

It is a shame that laws are required to enforce common courtesy and neighborly behavior. If these are the liberties you're most concerned with losing right now, I envy you.

blogme 6 years ago

I'm sure it's not the most important of liberties that bartstop is loosing that is bothersome, to me it's the idea that us poor people are so inept that we have to have government take care of us by instituting the most ridiculous of laws. All this enlightenment and we're more unempowered than ever!

And then adding insult to injury is the disgusting lowest common denominator response to call the cops when you see these ridiculous laws being broken. 100 years ago we'd have been eaten by the ants if we were that incapable of taking care of ourselves as apparently we are in the eyes of people that want these kind of laws.

Not only that, but what's next? New law: If you neighbor waves at you, you have to wave back? Turn in violators by calling the cops?

sleepy33 6 years ago

I'm not sure why you perceive that these laws are part of some new trend. With the exception of the smoking ban, most of them have been in place for a long time (ok, the shoveling ordinance is relatively new). When you live in town, within spitting distance of your neighbors, you're always going to have self-absorbed folks who don't realize or care how their actions affect others. And those tend to be the kind of people who really don't act in a logical and rational fashion if they are approached about reasonable issues that their neighbors may have. Neutral third parties help to keep those relationships civil.

I agree that the grass clippings thing seems kind of silly. I can't imagine someone getting that worked over the aesthetics of stray grass clippings in the street. Obviously, massive dumpings of whole bags of clippings is different, but otherwise, who cares.

Hooligan_016 6 years ago

Hyperbole aside, let's go back to the original issue, grass clippings in the street. These clippings (or any other organic material) may the storm sewer system drain directly to the rivers, untreated.

If a majority of Lawrencians were dumping clippings in the drain, this would drastically effect the health of the receiving waters. Aquatic animals and plants and ecosystems would be irrevocably damaged.

While this ordinance may not be enforced very often, it is necessary to have something like this on the books to reinforce the notion that it is BAD to do this activity.

This whole mentality of "screw you, I have mine" or "out of sight, out of mind" drives me up the wall.

blogme 6 years ago

This whole mentality that making a law somehow keeps something from happening is what drives me up the wall. :-)

Hooligan_016 6 years ago

Then why have any sort of law at all? :/

Our whole system is based around punishment/deterrence.

blogme 6 years ago

Every law on the books has been broken, and most of them A LOT of times. Not much of a deterrent eh? Our whole system as you put it is dependent on people that do the right thing, not just obey the law. And by creating stupid nit picky laws, you take people that would normally do the right thing, and make them not want to do the right thing. Remember, we got tired of England and their nit picky laws and kicked them out a while ago. Most of our bill of rights came out of that.

sleepy33 6 years ago

Ah yes; life, liberty, and freedom from nit-pickery. I'm sure I remember that part of the Declaration. Such minor nuisances as oppressive tax and trade regulations, enforced quartering of soldiers in one's home, and paying taxes to a governing body in which they had no members. I definitely see the relevance to the current discussion.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years ago

Your comment makes a lot of sense, riverine systems exist in a balance and it doesn't take much to tip it. Grass clippings by themselves sound like a petty concern, but if you look not just at one person but thousands it is a different matter. Like it or not we live in a system of laws and someone must make those laws.

Topple 6 years ago

Better up the wall the down the sewer drain! God only knows what kind of organic material you'd encounter down there...

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Smoke those clippings and the problem is avoided.

blogme 6 years ago

Good comment Snap, that made me laugh! LOL!

booyalab 6 years ago

Sound off: Is it legal to bust a cap in a club in Lawrence?

You just scurry your little butt back to Topeka or KC, we'll take it up with the club owner.

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

The person asked a legit question, you presumptive know-it-alls. The person did not say 'Why can't I mow the clippings into the street?' The person didn't whine. The person was curious as to whether it was legal or not. Sheesh. I gonna get some papers & head to snap's house.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Pick up a bag of Doritos on the way. A really, really big bag.

verity 6 years ago

There was so much sand (from sanding the streets for ice, I suppose) in the gutters one year, I scooped up buckets of it and put it on my garden. I've done the same with leaves and topsoil. During one rain so much top soil was washing down the gutter in front of my house that I made a small dam to collect it and keep everything from washing into the drainage system. Had some really nice soil for my garden.

verity 6 years ago

But I did make a difference. Saved the river and the top soil and bettered my garden. Win, win, win.

If everybody did that instead of bitching---

Tomato 6 years ago

Sometimes I shake my fists and scream into the wind for it to stop blowing grass clippings and leaves into the street. Why does it never listen?

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

The Wind & The Fist Shaker. Edgy.

verity 6 years ago

Only the wind knows for sure---and the wind never tells.

acg 6 years ago

Wait....I heard the Shadow knows, too!

Topple 6 years ago

This is what happens when you let a Democrat take the oval office...decent people can't even dump their waste into sewers anymore. I mean, what good is a sewer without proper waste??

Liberty_Or_Death 6 years ago

Wow we can build noxious carcinogenic roads on mother earth, endure chemically polluted city water, parks, rivers, air, and watch as police officers run their engines unmanned sometimes for hours!? God forbid natural plant matter land on a road, or even worse in our waterways! I bet next year we'll have to catch all the fall leaves from the trees in nets before the wind blows them next door or even worse into our purified chemical free sewer system... Sir, we witnessed that leaf caught by the wind land on public property, we're sorry but we have to charge you! Seriously, this is Lawrence Kansas let's adrress the trespasses against our liberty society and humanity! .Love&Light.

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