Additional features will include consideration of climate change scenarios with different partitioning of the liquid/solid precipitation in winter seasons, and the generalization of project findings so that they can provide guidance for snow disposal in other Swedish municipalities.
"The snow cleared in urban environments contains many pollutants from exhaust gases and feces from wild and domestic animals," says Stefan Marklund, project coordinator for this project called Sustainable urban snow handling - assessing and managing environmental risks.
Every winter, hundreds of thousands of tons of polluted snow need to be removed from cities in cold climates for operational and safety reasons, and properly disposed of either on land, or in water. In this proposed project, the feasibility of environmentally safe disposal of urban snow into the Stockholm Harbour will be assessed by means of a proposed snow management tool.
Snowmelt runoff turns out to have very high levels of certain metals like copper, lead and zinc. One explanation is that the pollutants accumulate in the snow for a long time.
"Due to snow handling in urban areas large amounts of snow are often moved to other receiving areas for stormwater than the place where the snow fell. When the snow melts, metals are transported with melting water in high concentrations to the nearby receiving water. Therefore, the choice of location for the deposited snow is crucial," says Maria Viklander, project leader and professor in Urban Water Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.
"This project focuses on the evaluation of environmentally safe snow handling, with Ports of Stockholm's field of operations serving as area of application. Yet, the ambition is to create a nationwide tool for the same purpose," says Stefan Marklund.
The project is financed by Formas, Luleå municipality, Örnsköldsvik municipality, Ports of Stockholm, NCC Roads AB, Stockholm Environment Department and The County Administrative Board of Stockholm. Project leader is Maria Viklander and project coordinator Stefan Marklund.