Maplewood Leaf Blower Ban Cites Health & Environmental Factors; Township Council Votes 5-0
Maplewood's ordinance banning industrial leaf blowers from May 15 to September 30 has been characterized as targeting a single issue: noise. But Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams cites other factors that motivated the Township Committee members' unanimous 5-0 vote in favor of the ban: air quality, water quality, and the health of residents and workers alike; the elderly and young and people with asthma, allergies and other health issues are most adversely impacted.
"Exhaust from gas-powered industrial blowers is a dirty mix of oil and gas, 30% of which is released into the air uncombusted, and top soil, dust, pollen, and fertilizer blown into the air is breathed in by everyone within the vicinity, says Adams. “Workers' exposure to the noise and fumes, often without breathing and ear protection, is hazardous to their health and well-being."
Adams estimates that 10 to 12 hours of public comment over several meetings preceded the Township Committee’s vote on April 4. The ordinance allows for battery or electric powered blowers, and the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by individual residents. The measure limits residential leaf blowing to 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, 10 am to 5 pm Saturdays, and 11 am to 5 pm on Sundays.
Similar ordinances are in effect in various towns and cities across the country. See Mary Mann's article in The Village Green, which includes both the Report to Maplewood's Governing Body and the Ordinance text.