BY O.J. EARLY
Freshly-mowed grass clippings are clogging storm drains and cluttering streets in Greeneville.
And local residents who continue to blow their unwanted grass leftovers into Greeneville's streets may soon face a fine, Mayor W.T. Daniels said this week.
"As I've said before, it is a real issue for the city trying to maintain the streets and keeping the streets clean," Daniels said.
"One of the causes is people blowing their grass clippings into the streets. That creates a situation that we aren't proud of. Not only that, but it stops up the drains."
Clogged storm drains have become a "significant" problem for the town, Public Works Department Director Brad Peters said.
"When people blow their grass into the streets, it's eventually going to wash down to the nearest storm drain," Peters said.
"It's a significant issue in that it costs taxpayer money," he added.
City crews, Peters explained, must fix all clogged drains.
That takes time and money, he said.
"It's a violation of our ordinance," Peters said. "Technically, the state could probably fine us. But they haven't yet."
Mayor Daniels has for months spoken out against citizens blowing mown grass into the town's streets.
Citizens have called his office complaining that the town's roadways look messy, the mayor said.
"We have one street sweeper, and it's hard for that sweeper to be all over town at the same time," said Daniels.
The town has an ordinance against illicit discharges. That includes grass clippings.
"If we have to issue citations, we do have that option," Daniels said Monday. "It's basically just littering.
"It wouldn't hurt people when they mow their yards to just not blow their grass out in the streets."
How much is the fine for shooting your grass into the streets?
No less than $50 and no more than $5,000, according to the ordinance.
"We've had some issues in the downtown area," Daniels said. "It's caused some flooding."
The mayor's request: please stop blowing grass clippings into Greeneville's streets.
"Be a good neighbor," Daniels said. "Just don't blow grass into the street."