Landscape contractors in Dallas, Texas, may face new regulations if they don’t collectively clean up their act. The city is looking for a solution to the unusual problem of contractors dumping their grass clippings down the city’s storm drains. Officials have already warned that if they don’t find an easy solution, they intend to implement a harder one—for the landscapers, that is.
The dumping is problematic because the drains make for an easy dumping site in dry weather, but when it eventually rains, the clippings cause drainage issues and pollute sensitive creeks.
“Environmentally, it’s not safe and not friendly to have all of the grass clippings blown into the streets, and eventually into our stormwater,” said Dallas City Council Member Dwaine Caraway. “It’s something that’s been plaguing us for a number of years. Even though Dallas has an ordinance that says you can’t do it, folks continue to do it.”
Dallas plans to deal with the problem by educating local landscape contractors, but will first require them to register with the city. “We don’t necessarily want to impose a fee, but we must have ways to communicate and contact so we can still educate them,” Caraway said.
“We can reach them and say, ‘Look, you have some violations. You’ve been cited on A, B, C and D and you must clean up your act,’” Council Member Carolyn Davis said. She also warned that fines and other measures could be next if education fails.
Those other measures could include requiring landscape contractors to use storm drain covers near large landscaping jobs in the same way building contractors are required to do now. They may also include contractors be required to keep clipping catcher bags on all lawn mowers.
For now though, Dallas will only pursue registration and education. “We’ll implement the ordinance and expect for it to be followed,” Caraway said.