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February 13, 2013

Cleanup piles up at Stage Fort

City's storm cleanup making strides

GLOUCESTER — Two dump trucks, their beds piled high with snow, rumbled into the Stage Fort Park parking lot Tuesday afternoon, steady streams of snow water dripping and splattering across the lot behind them.

The drivers pulled up to a massive mound of snow, longer than a football field, and dumped their loads onto a pile already as high as the dump truck roofs. The driver of a small compact track loader machine splashed through the snow pile’s run off, scraping the machine’s bucket along the ground then lifting it to neaten and pack the snow that covered about a third of the lot already.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Hale said that, while the city would like to allow private snow removal companies to drop their snow at Stage Fort Park, he has to make sure that there is not only enough room for the snowy remnants of the weekend storm but for snow that might fall in coming days, like the snowfall expected Thursday and Saturday.

“If I run out of room there myself, I’m in a tough situation,” Hale said.

While the Good Harbor Beach parking lot stands as a solid Plan B for dumping the snow, ocean dumping is not an option here, Hale said.

At Logan Airport, trucks scrape the snow right into the ocean, but with all the urban debris that turns up in plowed snow, Hale said dumping the snow in the harbor could also mean dropping Christmas trees, recycling bins, trash cans, snow shovels, shopping carts and other litter into the sea.

“It’s amazing what you find, and if that’s not addressed in the situation, that stuff winds up in the ocean,” Hale said. “Snow removal is very challenging as far as what you can do with it. You have very limited options.”

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