DEEP: DEEP Provides Flexibility on Disposal of Plowed Snow Given Extraordinary Snow Accumulation

February 9, 2013
 

DEEP Provides Flexibility on Disposal of Plowed Snow Given Extraordinary Snow Accumulation

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that due to the extraordinary snowfall from the recent snow storm, it is providing cities and towns with some flexibility to dispose of snow in salt water and certain waterways if all options for upland storage or other disposal methods have been exhausted.

DEEPís Best Management Practices (BMPs), which provide guidance on disposal of snow accumulation, are consistent with EPA guidelines and those of neighboring states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey. The flexibility on disposal takes effect only upon public notification by the Commissioner of DEEP, applies only to cities, town and other government entities, and applies only to snow and ice not visibly contaminated with material other than salt and sand from road clearing activities. Snow clearing and road maintenance activities conducted by most municipalities includes removal of snow accumulations from bridges, roads and parking areas for the purpose of providing more space for subsequent snow storms and for ease of travel and parking. DEEPís BMPs recommend disposing of this snow in upland areas and away from water bodies due to the presence of dirt, salt, litter, pet waste and other debris, which are routinely mixed in the accumulated snow. These types of contaminants can be cleaned after snow melts at inland storage areas but have an adverse effect when placed in water bodies and waterways.

DEEPís BMPs for limited Ė in-water disposal include the following terms and conditions:

  • Upland storage and disposal of snow (i.e., athletic fields, parks and other flat, open-field sites) and other snow management methods (i.e., snow melting equipment) must be the first alternatives explored and exhausted. Environmentally sensitive areas must be avoided;
  • This guidance applies only to snow and ice which is not visibly contaminated with material other than salt and sand from road clearing activities;
  • For coastal communities, preference should be given to snow disposal in salt water where available;
  • Disposal in rivers or streams must be limited to those water bodies that have adequate flow and mixing and are not prone to ice jams;
  • The disposal must occur only in open water in areas that will not interfere with navigation;
  • Disposal must be conducted in a manner so as to prevent ice dam formation or damage to bridges, docks, or other structures;
  • Disposal in ponds and lakes is discouraged;
  • There shall be no disposal in coastal or freshwater wetlands, eelgrass beds, vegetated shallows, vernal pools, shellfish beds mudflats, public water supply reservoirs and their tributaries, or others areas designated as being environmentally sensitive;
  • The activity must comply with local laws and requirements;
  • Precautions must be taken to avoid shoreline or stream bank damage or erosion from truck/equipment activity; and
  • Governmental entities must notify the Department by email (address email to kevin.sowa@ct.gov) prior to disposing of snow and ice in waterways or, if advance notification is not possible, then the Department must be contacted as soon as possible after snow disposal has begun.

DEEPís BMPs for snow removal can be found on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/snowdisposal