January 24, 2005

City sidewalks

Today in class, I asked the question I asked on Ianqui's blog: When it snows in New York City, where do they put all the snow? It just doesn't look like there's room between the buildings to put it all.

Students from the city were eager to explain the process. It gets plowed into piles, then hauled away with construction-type vehicles, big dumptrucks and such. Eventually, it gets loaded onto barges, hauled out into the ocean, and dumped. If you walk down to the piers on a winter day, you can watch this. They can't dump it into the Hudson because that would create glacier-like obstacles.

The snow that falls in a heavily urban area picks up pollutants on its way down. So even if it looks pure and white, it isn't.

That's what my students tell me.


Rudbeckia Hirta said...

They do a similar thing in Hanover, NH. When the snow banks get too high, they have a special truck that breaks them up and vacuums the snow into a dump truck. In Hanover, they dump it into the Connecticut River. That's why they don't salt the roads in Hanover. (And I think I've seem them do it along route 7 in NY. But they salt there, so they probably don't dump it into the Mohawk.)

Anonymous said...

Where I'm from, if we get snow, everything shuts down and we wait for it to melt.

Ianqui said...

Thanks for the info! Huh, I knew they carted it away but I never knew about the barges to the ocean part. I just thought they dumped it in the Hudson.

You know, I did web searches on this and there's nothing! So I hope you come up in google.