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Newton Blizzard Cleanup: Where Does the Snow Go?

Chief Operating Officer Robert Rooney explains where DPW crews dump the snow.

One week after the Blizzard of 2013 hit the Northeast, many cities, including Newton, still have some cleaning up to do.

But once the Newton DPW crews plow streets, shovel out sidewalks and clear parking lots, where does all the snow go?

Chief Operating Officer Robert Rooney explained to Newton Patch this week that there are currently six snow dumping sites in Newton, which are spread out across the city to allow easier removal and transport. 

The snow dumping sites include the Elliot Street DPW yard, Rumford Avenue Landfill, Newton Centre Playground, Auburndale Cove parking lot, Nahanton Park parking lot and a small area near Lowell Avenue and Austin Street. 

Once the snow is relocated to the dumping sites, the melting process begins. In Newton, that means letting the snow melt naturally.

Snow melting materials and machines, like those used in Boston, may get rid of snow faster, but they can have "exorbitant" costs, Rooney said.

Just letting the snow melt is not always that easy, though. As the temperatures rise, some debris and silt may flow along with the melted snow.

While Rooney said this will not be a problem in most of Newton's snow dumping areas, the city will use silt nets and hay bails at the Newton Centre Playground to prevent debris, silt and trash from seeping into the nearby stream.

Because the city did not know it needed the Newton Centre Playground for snow dumping until this recent storm, the silt catches and hay bails are not in place yet. However, the city plans to put them in before a "big melt," Rooney said.

While all snow dumping sites in the city are not ideal, Rooney said it is important to remove the snow and clear the streets to get the city moving.

"It's critical to get our villages functioning again," Rooney said.

Throughout this week, DPW crews have been working on widening streets and clearing parking lots across the city. During the last few nights, crews have focused on getting large snow mounds out of the city's village centers.

The next step will be clearing snow on street corners and reducing the size of snow banks, Rooney said, to improve safety and flow in city intersections. 

Have a plowing request or notice a sidewalk that hasn't been shoveled? You can call in service requests to the city at 617-796-1000 or file a request through the online 311 system.

Harry Sanders February 15, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Does Rooney recognize the salt and other minerals eventually end up in the Charles via the stream at Newton Centre playground, feeding into the lower lands such as the ponds in front of Newton city hall. The Conservation Commission, perhaps, has the jurisdictional authority to protect the wetlands and waterways, but for many years the internal administrative strife and philosophical differences between DPW, Parks & Rec, and Con Comm have rendered a somewhat inconsistent ill prepared emergency response plan. There are better ways to handle the situation..
Ms Gavin February 15, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Is it really necessary to remove snow on residential areas at 4:30. Am
Choo Choo February 28, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Why can't the city also use the greensward running the length of Comm Ave? It used to be an old trolley car line, anyway.

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