DEP: Bodies of water now being used for emergency snow disposal

Bodies of water must have enough flow to prevent ice dam formation

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Communities throughout the state are dealing with massive snow piles that just keep on growing with every winter storm.

Parts of western Massachusetts are now just five inches of snow away from the amount we typically get in an entire winter season, and we still have several weeks of winter left to go. The Springfield region has had more than 20 inches of snow in just the first 10 days of February, which is well above the average snowfall totals for the entire month.

Now, the state says local communities are allowed to get permission from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to take emergency steps to remove large piles of snow and dump them into bodies of water, which is normally not allowed because of all the pollutants in that snow, such as road salt and car oils.

But the DEP put out an advisory Monday that acknowledged the challenges cities and towns throughout the state have removing what is for many areas record-breaking snow totals.

The DEP says communities can get rid of the snow in the ocean or others bodies of water where there is a strong enough flow to prevent ice dams from forming. They still have restrictions on dumping snow in drinking water reservoirs, salt marshes, and vegetated wetlands.

Communities must consult with their local conservation commission to determine where they are allowed to put these snow piles, and where they aren’t.

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