Ocean County Press Release
FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR VICARI ASKS RESIDENTS NOT TO RAKE GRASS, LEAVES AND DEBRIS INTO THE STREETS DURING SPRING CLEANUPS

FINALLY spring and warm weather are here. And with the warmer days comes another annual ritual – the spring cleanup.

While it may be tempting to simply rake and blow old leaves, branches and grass clippings into the road, Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari warned that yard debris poses numerous safety threats.

"We've already had a lot of heavy rain this season and it's vitally important that all of our storm drains stay clean and free of trash," he said. "Raking waste from our yards into the street clogs drains and can lead to serious flooding problems."

Leaves swept into the streets can also cause other issues.

"Dead leaves and grass can act as fertilizer and contribute to the nitrogen and nutrient problems we are seeing in the Barnegat Bay," Vicari said.

Nonpoint source pollution from storm drains is the leading cause of environmental problems in the bay.

Vicari said the county already has an aggressive program in place to maintain the drains that empty into the bay and other local waterways.

The Ocean County Road Department's Jet-Vac trucks clean the drains throughout the county on a regular schedule.

"The Board of Freeholders is committed to keeping the bay healthy," Vicari said. "But we need all of our residents' help. Please help us keep our local storm drains clean and free of trash."

Many towns also have leaf and shrub clipping pickups scheduled for the coming weeks, he said.

"Residents should check with their local towns for collection dates," Vicari said.

On a related note, Vicari also renewed his call for motorists not to throw their cigarette butts out the window.

"Those butts also end up in the bay and contribute to the problems we've seen," he said.

Vicari said many new-model cars don't include ashtrays, further enticing some smokers to toss their used cigarettes onto the road.

"Most auto part stores carry portable ashtrays for vehicles," he said. "Even an old can will do in a pinch."

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