Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hey Boston, how do you get rid of all that snow?

Is it just me or doesn't this seem like it should not be legal? With more than 60" of snowfall in Boston so far this winter, trying to clear space in the city is not easy. However, this contraption which rapidly melts snow in this parking lot quickly drains through the city sewers and into Boston harbor. Is that really legal?

Watch my quick video and let me know what you think.

12 comments:

Cubby said...

NYC does the same thing, and I for one think it's brilliant solution.

Sean said...

I don't understand why this is a bad thing.

Mauro Paim said...

The only snow I could experience in Boston was from inside the airport. I hope to be able to see first hand, soon.

and then there was METAL said...

oh snap this is brilliant

Stan in NH said...

It's really where all runoff goes anyway. When it rains, the water goes into the storm drains and ends up in the harbor, so the snow is really no different, except it has road salts and cinders in it, which will run down the storm drain just as likely in the spring with the spring rains anyway, so.....
What's a city to do? :)

Peter said...

And how much energy does it cost and who's going to pay for it?!

Dalamar Taurog said...

The reason why it is usually a bad idea to dump the snow directly into the harbor is because the snow that you get off the street usually comes with a fair amount of street garbage. By melting it, and sending through a grate, you don't have to worry about the garbage problem. After its melted, as Stan said, its basically the same thing that happens in the spring anyway.

Gay Guy said...

The heck with the snow . . . did you make that vid yourself? What a clever man you are.

Jc said...

Just speeding up what will eventually happen. They need the space now, so turn the snow into water, and it goes down the drain. I say it's genius.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you post this last year too?

It's melting snow faster than it would normally and sending down the same drain it would go down anyway.

Yes it wastes energy and dumps a pile of CO2 into the environment, but the water is no worse than it would be otherwise.

As for who pays for it: This is on private property and so the owners do. Apparently they've made the calculation that the profits to be had from the parking outweigh the costs to melt the snow. And further that melting the snow is cheaper than trucking it somewhere to allow it to melt naturally.

I would much prefer the city choose a park and allow anyone to dump "all natural" snow there to melt naturally and recharge the ground water, but we live in a city and there simply is not enough space for all of the snow.

BosGuy said...

Hi Anonymous - good memory! Yes I did ask this question last year.

The reason I raise if there is an environmental impact is because of the volume of salt and sand that gets washed into the sewers. While its true that this material would naturally melt into the sewers - this machine melts snow piles that are 20'+ high in a matter of hours. Even on our warmest winter days, this type of melting would not occur.

With regards to who pays for this or the fact that its on private property, I'm not particularly concerned. I just raise the question from an environmental impact perspective. The sheer volume of dirt, salt, etc... being drained is the reason I wonder if its legal / ethical.

You can not walk anywhere in Boston w/o seeing the warnings on Boston Sewer Grates indicating that pollutants go into the harbor.

RG said...

Actually, all the storm drains are connected to the Waste Treatment Plant at Deer Island now, so no snow runoff goes into the harbor without first being treated at the plant, with perhaps the owners of the various harbor piers directly dumping snow into the harbor from cleanup.

Frankly, I think this is a brilliant idea.