COLUMBIA — The nearly 18 inches of snow that fell during this week's storm has been plowed and moved out of the downtown area. That much snow has to go somewhere else.
On most streets, city workers find places to pile the snow, said Jill Stedem, public information specialist at the Public Works Department. The area downtown is a special case. Stedem said workers often have to transport the snow elsewhere because there is not enough space for it.
This excess snow is dumped on land that is adjacent to and owned by Boone Quarries, a rock quarry on the north side of Columbia. The land is located just west of the company’s West Quarry at 2510 N. Stadium Blvd.
Tim Woodard, a quarry manager, said the land’s location makes it easy for city workers to transport the snow.
“The land is open and is in an easily accessible area,” Woodard said.
After being dumped, the snow is left on the property to melt. Woodard said there is no additional environmental risk in allowing the snow to melt on the land — there may be less of a risk than if the snow were left in the streets.
“The snow poses no more danger here than it would have anywhere else,” Woodard said. He said the property was set up so the drainage would flow through containment ponds before reaching any other water.
Stedem said concerns about melting snow are related to the chemicals used to melt it — there are high levels of salt, salt cinders and calcium carbonate that might cause harm. She also said there is no way to clear streets so quickly without using chemicals.