Como Curbside Cleanup is extended to 7 days


The Como Lake Neighbor Network (CLNN) will hold its twice-annual Como Curbside Cleanup Saturday, Oct. 15, to Saturday, Oct. 22. Extending the event to seven days will give Como residents more time to clean leaves and other organics from curbs and more opportunity for fun and informative activities.

The purpose of the event is to help neighbors work together to prevent organic debris, a major phosphorus source, from going into storm drains and into Como Lake. The lake is on the state’s impaired water list due to excessive concentrations of phosphorus. The consequence is an explosion of plant growth that destabilizes the lake, harms aquatic life and threatens downstream waterways.  Preventing phosphorus at the source—our neighborhood streets—is the most direct and meaningful way citizens can help restore Como Lake to a healthy, stable condition.

Here’s how the cleanup works:

  • Over a span of a week, Como neighbors rake and bag the organic debris—leaves, grass clippings and loose soil—that has accumulated against the curb in front of their homes.
  • Bags of “curb debris” are taken to roll-off bins located in the neighborhood, where they are counted and then dumped into the bins.
  • The total number of bags filled by neighbors is announced along with a calculation of how many pounds of phosphorus the community prevented from Como Lake and how many tons of algae that phosphorus would have fueled had it reached the lake.
  • The debris is taken to the county composting site.

This fall’s project area is twice the size of past cleanups and will include residential streets east, south and west of the lake (see the CLNN website for a map). Como Curbside Cleanup week will begin with a kick-off event at the lake on Oct. 15.  Then over the week several organized block club cleanups will take place with assistance from area youth groups as well as other interactive education and awareness activities. Then a final wrap-up event on Oct. 22 will include a thank-you celebration and official announcement of the community totals.

The City of Saint Paul will coordinate its street-sweeping schedule with this neighbor-led effort so that there’s a two-week separation between the two cleanings (ours and the city’s).  Fall season produces tons of leaves, which can quickly re-accumulate against curbs, so having this double effort will maximize the cleanup.

For details on which blocks will be included in the project area, how to get your block club included in the organized cleanups, a list of the week’s activities and partner organizations, information on Como Lake’s condition and current restoration efforts, or how to join the Como Lake Neighbor Network go to or contact Janna Caywood, 651-261-7416 or

Janna Caywood is the lead organizer for the Como Lake Neighbor Network.