WESTPORT — Town officials remind do-it-yourself leaf disposers to respect — and protect — wetlands and waterways by following regulations that prohibit dumping debris, such as leaves and yard waste, in those environmentally sensitive bodies.

Residents who choose not to use either the town’s curbside leaf collection program or the municipal yard waste facility when cleaning up their properties this autumn should be aware the town does not allow that refuse to be dumped in streams or wetlands.

For details on those rules, read the Regulations for the Protection and Preservation of Wetlands and Watercourses and the town’s Waterway Protection Line Ordinance.

In a statement this week, Colin Kelly, the town’s conservation director, underscored the guidelines on dumping.

“As tempting as it may be,” Kelly said in the statement, “our wetlands and watercourses are not the place to be dumping” yard waste and leaves.

 “Laws that protect our wetlands and waterways are there to protect the town’s natural resources as well as private property.

“Wetlands act as natural drainage basins for the collection of excess groundwater in the spring and runoff during storm events,” he added. “Wetlands keep floodwaters within streams and their floodplains.”

Composting is an option for an individual to dispose of leaves in an environmentally sound way, although local regulations require that a compost site or receptacle be at least 20 feet away from any wetland or watercourse. For advice on composting, click here.

Officials remind residents that the town’s curbside leaf collection program runs through Dec. 5. 

And the town’s yard waste facility, 180 Bayberry Lane, is operating on an expanded schedule through Dec. 10.

For details on both of those programs, click here.