Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow dumping - isn't it bad for the environment

Is dumping snow into Boston harbor legal?

Wherever you go in the city you see signs cautioning you to think before you potentially dump anything toxic because the sewers lead directly to Boston harbor. Yet all winter long I have watched salted and dirty snow piled high in parking lot across from my apartment on Harrison Avenue dump melted snow into the city's sewers. I understand the problem and empathize with the landlord. GTI Properties has done a magnificent job of turning SOWA from a lonely outpost in the South End to a great neighborhood. However, watching them melt and dump gallon after gallon of dirty snow into the drains to make way for the needed parking must be harmful to the harbor.

video

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where do you think the meltwater goes when the snow melts naturally? Do unicorns come and drink it all before it goes into the storm drain?

Just sayin' said...

And the salt water does go into the salt water of the harbor, no?

Anonymous said...

Report em.

It's not legal, and the law is there to protect the environment. Imagine if all of Bostons roads and parking places were emptied into the river and harbor at the same time.

That's the reason for these laws.

Anonymous said...

It is possible that the machine is also filtering the water before dumping it down the drain.
http://beaconhilltimes.com/archives/feb1.html#ST3

"Environmentally friendly, the snow-melters separate out street debris such as sand, salt, anti-freeze, gasoline, oil and other contaminants found in snow. Unpolluted water derived from this process can then be dumped into storm drains or catch basins."

Anonymous said...

My curiosity piqued, I went and Google'd the manufacturer "Trecan".

http://www.trecan.com/webe3/faq.html

There are a couple of answers there that seem to be relevant. Specifically #12 and 13.

Looks like it filters "heavy debris", but that salt, gas, antifreeze and most other contaminants will pass through.

John Mc said...

Why wouldn't it be legal? The city dumped the water in the storm drains as well when they rented some snow melters a few years ago for a test run...