Monitoring Snow Dumping Sites
As with yards and road maintenance, when managing a pile of contaminated snow, good data leads to good information, which leads to sound decision-making and smooth operations.
It is important to continuously monitor all aspects of snow disposal sites, including the condition and remaining capacity of the melt water collection, retention, and discharge systems, particularly as the seasons change and the ground becomes less stable.
If the surface deteriorates significantly, a site may become unusable until major repairs are done. Over time, the collection and treatment ponds will silt up, reducing their capacity to handle melt water. The life span of the ponds may be significantly extended by regularly removing material that has settled out.
If the site allows both public and private snow dumping, closer monitoring will be required.
Collect recycled sand: Snow storage sites are the best places to collect recycled sand.
More than 20% of the sand applied to streets is picked up and delivered to the snow storage site. This can be harvested and re-processed for use in your street operations next winter.
Methods have been developed using transponders and weigh-in-motion sensors that can automatically track private dumping volumes and associated fees. Some sites will need 24-hour security to control unauthorized access and dumping, even during the off-season.
In order to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the snow disposal site, continuously monitor all aspects of the snow disposal site.
● Inputs (what's brought into the site)
● Outputs (what's being discharged from the site)
● Environmental impacts (potential on-site and downstream contamination)
Be sure to track the following:
1. The volume of snow dumped on the site (if your site is used for both public and private snow dumping, you'll need to keep separate records for both public and private volumes, as well as any fees collected.
2. The volume of snow remaining on the site. It's useful to be able to estimate the melt rate if there's a timing restriction on discharging melt water into the receiving water body.
3. Chemicals being used: Depending on the nature of road operations some road authorities may monitor levels of such de-icing chemicals as potassium acetate and CMA.
4. Site outputs: With proper pile management, contaminated snow entering the disposal site will leave in the form of appropriately diluted melt water. For monitoring purposes:
● Keep track of the volume of melt water flowing into the receiving area.
● Ensure it provides sufficient dilution of the chlorides and other contaminants in the discharge.
● Keep track of the volume and type of large debris collected and disposed. Knowledge of materials and objects being inadvertently collected allows the implementation of measures to avoid them in future.