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Nacksta deponi i Sundsvall snöåret 2018
Nacksta snow dump site in Sundsvall in 2018. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Workshop - Snow dumps

Published: 1 June 2020

For many municipalities in Sweden, large decentralized snow dumps for storing urban snow are an important part of their snow management in winter. However, the large snow dumps cause an enormous transport of snow every year. Also, meltwater from snow dumps contains similar pollutants as stormwater and often ends up untreated in our lakes and watercourses.

In May this year, a workshop was organized on snow management in urban environments and the role of snow dumps in municipal stormwater management. More than 50 participants from the environmental, water and roads departments of several municipalities, contractors and other stakeholders from all over Sweden participated in the event. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the benefits and challenges of today's snow management and investigate solutions for combined snow storage and stormwater management areas close to the cities.

 

During the workshop, a number of snow storage solutions from different municipalities were presented. Then the different solutions were discussed in small groups and the participants' reasoning and conclusions were then summarized in the whole group. An important conclusion from the workshop was that large decentralized snow dumps are still important in snow management and difficult to get away from.

Even if more solutions for storage of snow in close vicinity to the cities were to be developed, space is a limitation in cities. In winters with plenty of snow, there is not enough space for storage within the cities and then snow dumps can act as a safety "back-up" facility. Today, however, there are no clear requirements for the treatment of meltwater, whereupon the degree of meltwater treatment from landfills differs greatly between different municipalities. One wish that was expressed was therefore clearer rules for snow dumps and stricter requirements for treatment as a solution to reduce the amount of pollution from the meltwater. Another conclusion was the importance of including stormwater and snow management at an early stage in urban planning when building new districts as the lack of space sets the limits for possible snow storage in the city.

The workshop ended with a look ahead and a hope to see snow more as a resource. Giving snow a higher status also entails an increased willingness to handle snow in a different way than what is done today. Perhaps urban snow can be divided into classes depending on cleanliness where some snow can be used for building local snow toboggans in winter. Melting water may be used for irrigation, district cooling or as cooling water in industry. The possibilities are many as long as we choose to see them!

The workshop was arranged within the framework of DRIZZLE and was part of the research on multifunctional surfaces for stormwater management in cold climates carried out by Luleå Municipality's PhD student Emelie Hedlund Nilsson.

Emelie Hedlund Nilsson

Emelie Hedlund Nilsson, Municipal PhD

Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering