Crews take D.C. snow to melt in stadium parking lot after record blizzard

WJLA - Crews take D.C. snow to a stadium parking lot to melt (1-27-16)

As the big dig out continues, one of the biggest challenges for cities has been where to put all of that snow, especially in the dense neighborhoods of D.C. But the District is also concerned about the environmental impact of the snowmelt.

As stated by Newton's Law of Motion: snow scooped up, must go down somewhere.

In D.C., that somewhere is lot six outside RFK Memorial Stadium. Even as it melts, a mountain range with 20-foot high peaks of snow continues to grow with truckload after truckload being dumped.

But after all of this snow crippled D.C., why not just dump it into the Anacostia or Potomac Rivers?

DDOE Chief of Inspection Enforcement Joshua Rodriguez said, "Maybe back in the day, that would have been considered, but nowadays especially with the focus on the Anacostia River cleanup, the focus on the Chesapeake Bay, I don't think it ever crossed anyone's mind that they would just ultimately dump it."

To help Mother Nature along, the so-called Snow Dragon snow melter was loaned to D.C. from the Indianapolis airport.

D.C. HSEMA Director Christopher Geldart said, "It's been going for 24 hours straight now and we're making a dent."

With a temp of about 98 degrees, Geldart said the water inside the Dragon's tank can process about 60 tons of snow an hour.

The Dragon not only melts; it also separates trash from the snow. Then, all of that water goes into drains that feed into RFK's storm management system using specialized underground chambers.

"This goes directly to the river but there are treatment systems within these drains that remove a lot of the oil and a lot of the sediment," said Rodriguez.

District leaders said they must abide by the federal Clean Water Act and D.C.'S Water Pollution Control Act.

They acknowledged this operation would be costly, but they expect it will be off-set by federal emergency funds.

With some D.C. neighborhoods still being cleared on Wednesday, they predicted this effort would continue around-the-clock for at least another 48 or 72 hours.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off