Chemicals in Melting Snow?
One reader was concerned about the melting snow and the salt and sand that is in the snow along roadways.
As the weather hits a balmy 40 plus degrees during the day, one reader was concerned about what happens to all the salt and other chemicals in the snow as it melts.
“It all filters out through the system," said the City's General Foreman of Streets Kenneth Calder of the snow that melts into the city's storm drains.
That water goes through a filtration process built into the storm drain system before it is diverted into any waterway, he said. Much of the other melting snow has much of the chemicals naturally filtered out of it as it melts directly into the ground, rather than into any waterway, said Calder.
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The city maintains a snow dump at the DPW for snow that has been collected from other parts of the city, such as the downtown area. This melting snow is no different than the snow that comes off the city's streets, said Calder. As it melts it leaves behind sediment.
"The snow dump gets a little higher in grade each year because of what left behind," said Calder.
The city will use hay bales if run off is going into a brook near the dump. A spillway can be opened for the water coming through the brook, allowing it to flow through old filter beds if necessary, said Calder.
“Anything that comes out of our snow dump is no different than what is melting into the streets," he said.