After some of our very welcome recent rains, there was a less-welcome displacement of material onto sidewalks and streets. The biggest offender looks to be landscaping mulch. Go figure – chips of wood and bark float on water. A lot of mulch washes into storm drains. I wonder what the city thinks of that. Mulch is probably not as bad as mud. Either way, I would think most people would want to keep their property on their property. Sign me, Not So Chipper
How’s this for irony? The stuff used to conserve water is swept away by the water it’s supposed to conserve.
That’s not surprising. Durango is all about irony.
It’s like what Mrs. Action Line observed the other day on North Main.
The road was packed with RVs the size of Battlestar Galactica – all of them hauling motorcycles, ATVs, generators and stacks of large plastic tubs.
Mrs. Action Line just smiled and rolled her eyes. “I’m really glad the tourists are here. But I just don’t understand why people bring everything with them when they want to get away from it all.”
Summer means vacation. That includes people and, apparently, chunks of wood.
When mulch departs on a rainy river trip, it’s much ado about mulch adieu.
The city frowns on this kind of tourism.
In fact, the city goes to great lengths to stop unwanted material from entering MS4.
Is MS4 some sort of gang?
Nope. You’re thinking of MS-13.
MS4 stands for “municipal separate storm sewer system,” and it’s a big deal.
Just take a look at Durango’s “Storm Drainage Criteria Manual.” It’s 282 pages, overflowing with useful information on runoff.
Then there’s the City Code.
There’s an entire section prohibiting “illegal discharge” into gutters.
“No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged into the MS4 or watercourses any materials, including but not limited to ... yard waste (and) landscaping materials,” the code reads.
Thus, one person’s decorative mulch is another person’s illicit discharge.
Doesn’t “illicit discharge” sound like an unpleasant medical condition?
In any case, the code lists many nasty items that can’t be kicked to the curb, including old paint, pet waste, oil, hazardous materials and “cleaning products.”
This should cause a collective gasp amongst dance teams, cheerleaders and other youth groups.
“Oh no! How can we have our annual Car Wash Fundraiser if cleaning products can’t be hosed away?”
Don’t panic. The city isn’t without a heart.
Certain discharges are exempt “when properly managed,” the code says.
This includes the “car washing of less than two consecutive days in duration for charity, nonprofit fund raising.”
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, mulch notwithstanding.
Let’s hope for more monsoons soon, so we can be awash in errant bark chunks.
And we all know that washing the car ensures rainfall.
H H HShameless Self-Promotion Alert: You’re cordially invited to a free gardening talk by Action Line called “Plant This, Not That.” It’s at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Durango Public Library.
There will be shocking photos, snarky comments and some plant-shaming. Mulch will not be discussed.
“Plant This, Not That” is part of the Great Gardens Series, sponsored by the library, CSU Extension Office and the Durango Botanical Society.
Info and register at durangobotanicalsociety.com. Or just show up.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if your choice of mulch isn’t the most poplar.