Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stuff that's left behind when the University of Wisconsin's snow mountain melts

Mountain of Dirty Snow
This was how the University's snow mountain looked about a month ago when it was near its height. Every time we took one of our rare winter walks along the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path, we marveled at this rising pile of snow, dirt, oily street sludge and the various kinds of residue that end up on the University's streets and sidewalks and get swept up by the snowplows and removed. The University has to dump it somewhere, so they deposit it on the west end of the campus, north of Goodman Field and next to the marsh that borders Lake Mendota.

We always wondered how they kept it from harming the environment when it melted. Normally, they have some barriers in place. However, it turns out that our record snowfall this year overwhelmed the defenses somewhat, as Anita Weier reports in the Capital Times.
UW-Madison has been storing snow north of Goodman Field and south of a marsh that borders Lake Mendota for years, but this winter the snow overwhelmed the storage space and caused passers-by to worry about effects on the lake.

"A berm surrounds the snow pile, and silt fences and hay bales help filter the runoff from the snow pile. But with this year's snow, as much as we've had, some snow was pushed over the bales and barrier so some runoff is going directly into the marsh," said John Harrod, director of the physical plant for the university.

"We are working to clean it up so we can minimize impacts on the marsh."
Just one more way this winter has been one of the worst in years.

No comments: