Curb Cleaning Practice

People raking the curb.Simple in design, but mighty in its impact, Curb Cleaning is an individual, household practice led by Como neighbors on their own properties. When we all do this, it becomes a collective practice, removing water pollution sources that, in the aggregate, significantly impact to our beloved local waters – Como Lake and the Mississippi River.

2020 Curb Cleaning season begins Thursday, Oct. 1st!

During autumn, our focus is leaves! All those fall leaves that accumulate in our street gutters otherwise known as our “curbs.” Each household focuses just on the stretch of curb that borders their own private property (alleys too, if you have one).

Streets + leaves + stormwater runoff = nutrient pollution in local waters!

When rainwater washes over leaf litter accumulated along street curbs, phosphorus and nitrogen leach out of those leaves (think of a tea bag). This creates nutrient infused runoff that then flows to the nearest storm drain and into underground storm sewer pipes. In Como, our pipes empty into Como Lake and the Mississippi River.

Como Lake is already impaired due to excessive nutrients that feed noxious algae. This annual pollution influx coming from our neighborhood streets further degrades lake and river water quality and damages the aquatic ecosystem.

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How to practice Curb Cleaning!

It’s simple really.

  • October 1st, begin monitoring the curbs that border your private property.
  • Once a week (or as needed) if you notice leaf litter has accumulated along the curb, sweep it up.
  • You can simply push it up onto your boulevard. This at least gets it out of the street where stormwater runoff will flow. You can then deal with the leaves when you’re ready to manage your yard leaves.
  • Or you can gather them up and move them immediately to a pile in your backyard, to breakdown into compost over the winter.
  • Or you can bundle them up and take them to the nearest county yard waste site.
  • Or you can bag them in a compostable bag and ask your waste hauler to pick them up (for a fee).
  • November 30th, if you’d like your pollution source removal to be counted in our community-wide, aggregated measurement of water pollution prevention, report how many feet of curbage you took care of to

See also:

Como Lakeshed Map

Research on Leaves and Stormwater

Photos of Como Curb Cleaners

Last Year’s Results

Video: Make a Simple Composter

Backyard Composting 101

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