Curious Why Snow Isn’t Dumped In The Ocean

By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV

Just wondering since we live so close to the ocean, why can’t we dump truckloads of snow into the Atlantic.  I would think there is a location that would be accessible for trucks to dump a load of snow into the ocean.  Seems like a practical answer to get rid of all the snow that is piled up everywhere especially in the city of Boston.  Just a thought. – Diane, Plymouth

And with another set of storms heading this way, where to put it all is a huge question.

But there’s one very important reason why the snow can’t be dumped in the ocean….it’s against the law.  The Clean Water Act prohibits dumping snow in the ocean, and The Wetlands Protection Act says “no” to dumping it in rivers and lakes.  Why?  Because those truckloads of snow would contain contaminants like road treating chemicals, salt and even oil and gas from cars.  Not to mention garbage picked up off the road.  All stuff that doesn’t belong in our waterways.

However, according to the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection, a city or town can ask that agency for a waiver in an emergency, but only if they can show that the snow they want to dump isn’t contaminated.  So far during this harsh winter, no city or town has asked.

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  • Paul Roy

    Now maybe I;m wrong, but when the snow melts no matter where it is, isn’t it going to end up in the ocean anyway? Or worse, in the public water supply>

    • Stephanie Webb

      Can’t agree more

      • Brittany

        hahaha, good point!

  • Rob

    I realize it is illegal to dump snow into the ocean and rivers but what is the difference in dumping snow on an open fiield [snow farm], and letting it melt and go into ground water or putting it in a parking lot where it will melt and go down street drains, whereas some drains drain into the ocean or harbor. Sounds like a catch 22 to me.

  • Cynic

    If one teacup of Oil is going to destroy the Oceans…..Considering the thousands of Ships,(From Mini-Subs To Battleships to Aircraft Carriers)Airplanes,Bombs,Torpedos,Bullets and all the other stuff in the Oceans from the Second World War it is a wonder that we aren’t all dead.At that time I would bet that the number of people Rescuing Seagulls with Oil on thier wings was fairly close to ZERO.Believe it or not:The Oceans are made up of SALT water,And there are organisms in the Oceans that thrive on a good meal of oil.

  • BC

    Oh noooo. Not salt in the ocean! Goodness…the seas would never recover from such an obscene dosage of road salt. Why, the oceans are so pure…except, of course, for the naturally occurring mercury, methane hydrates, black smokers etc. Give me a break Have we become totally disconnected from reality? Enviromentalism run amok.

  • Stephanie Webb

    I bet if they could they would let us dump into the oceans or a “Wet snow dump” as long as we paid. Its harmful to dump trash any where but designate a spot and charge is and now its not so bad. Any way to make a BUCK!

  • Chris

    to those who do not know, the water in the sewer system is actually heavily treated before it goes into the ocean. its cleaned so much so that it actually becomes drinkable

    • ktsue

      I’m not sure that the sewer system and the rain system are the same. It seems the sewage treatment plants would have to work overtime if they had to clean all the water that goes down the storm drains, but this is definitely an area I don’t know much about…I’d be interested to learn more.

  • blackbear1

    i agree w/all of the above. this siily stuff and overregulation at a time when we are inundated with excessive snow from an unusual winter. please, we must get real!!!

  • Michelle

    if you live in a community paying heavy mwr fees you would understand why it is a bad idea

    • GW

      What does “mwr” mean?

  • Chip

    While you are looking for ways to hang this contractor by his toes, ask your self this, Where does all the run-off from any municipalities storm drains end up? I think you will find that the private contractor here is being (or attempting to be) fined for something every municipality is hard-piped to do on a daily basis.

  • Lawrence Mayor Catches Trucks Dumping Snow Into Merrimack River « CBS Boston

    […] When he saw a parade of snow filled trucks driving around his city, he began staking them out. Read: Why can’t crews dump snow into bodies of water? […]

  • pat

    why doesn’t the city of lynn ask the GE permission to pile in all their empty lots that aren’t used anymore?

  • taxedout

    Thank God we have a law not to put dirty filthy snow in the ocean. Please leave that dirty fiilthy snow in your yard, in front of your house, on the bottom of your shoes away from the ocean, where it will Kill all forms off life when entering to swim this summer!!!!! We are moving in the right direction!!!!

  • AnnoyedWithEnviros

    This snow is a horrifying menace on the road. You can’t see oncoming traffic, you can’t see pedestrians and God help anyone bicycling. I think four foot snowbanks constitute an emergency already, forget the feel-good environmentalism.

  • emom

    Hey who wants to swim with glass, oil, gas, trash, and god knows what else.. If you dump all the snow into the ocean, what do you all think would happen,,, HHNMMM lets see, first the eco system could be harmed, next the seafood, you eat will be contaminated more so, seafood and shellfish would suffer and possibly die. Has anyone forgot the gulf oil spill.. Oh wait no one has come up sick or dead YET from eating contaminated seefood, Just wait stories of birth defects will surface and illnesses will surely follow.

  • Some Wondering Why Snow Isn’t Dumped In Boston Harbor « CBS Boston

    […] But, the threat of still more snow has some people grumbling about the wisdom of dumping snow right into Boston Harbor. The city doesn’t do it and the practice is forbidden by state environmental officials. Read: Why can’t crews dump snow into bodies of water? […]

  • avoidong this storm in Florida

    If it can’t be dumped in the ocean why can’t it be brought to a holding tank that will go through purification process and used for summer droughts?

    • Brittany

      that’s a good idea, i like your thinking!

      • avoiding this storm in Florida

        Thanks. A quick Google search brought up this company, ; don’t know much about it but it seems if we have the technology for smart phones, hybrids, and space exploration we can convert massive amounts of snow into our water supply and at the very least delay a summer drought.

  • A. Greene Piece

    Hey EMOM every time you “drop” one in the toilet you are polluting our ocean and possible some nearsighted fish. Did mommy wipe your nose and tie your shoes through high school. Wake up and get a dose of reality this isn’t Kansas.

  • Tweets that mention Curious Why Snow Isn’t Dumped In The Ocean « CBS Boston --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony siciliano, Rick Macomber. Rick Macomber said: Curious Why Snow Isn’t Dumped In The Ocean « CBS Boston […]

  • Ernie

    Let’s just dump it all at Foxboro stadium. It’s not like it’s going to be used for anything till long after the snow melts.

    • ktsue

      LOL…so true!!!! But I bet somehow you’d have MORE trouble dumping it there…they wouldn’t want to dirty up their playing field for next year. Imagine if we dumped all the snow there, and when it melted, we found Whitey Bulger!

  • kelly

    You MA people complain too much no wonder why your all so high strung.

  • Joe Donovan

    Kelly is right. So many of you, just complain—–so negative. The glass is always half empty. You never had it so good!

    • Brittany

      so not being able to see traffic on the road you’re about to pull out onto because the snowbanks are piled up so high is a good thing?

      • Brittany

        I don’t see where you can get something positive out of that…

  • Cynic

    Mother Nature doesn’t care whether you like her Snow or not…..She doesn’t watch TV so she probably doesn’t even know that everyone is so bent out of shape.

  • emom

    HHmm, I see , well then the only solution is to gather buckets of this sludge, bring it home let it melt, and use it to cook with, drink, service to your pets, bathe in, wash laundry in . and well ENJOY IT AS YOUR NEXTCUP OF HOT COCOA…
    If you all feel its so safe,, Drink p and enjoy… I rather not drink that sludge, especially since so many folks use that ICE MELT product, whick is a chemical, and not to mention the various autop parts buries into the stuff, Yeah like thats all safe,, Oh and I dont buy my seafood that comes from this harbor,thank you very much, I know whats there, Deep sea is where I get it from, But hey more for the rest of you to enjoy , I will pass on the sludge ,… ENJOY ….. THE TOXIC WASTE SLUDGE…

  • emom

    Drink and enjoy ,slight typo,,, BUT Dont forget the fine filter system your going to need it, oh and purification pills, good luck

  • response

    emom, as long as it’s not yellow snow…you’re good to go

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