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. This snow contains a number of pollutants, originating from exhaust and wild and domestic animals among others, and must be stored either on land or on / in the water.
According to national regulations, snow is classified as waste, and waste disposal into water is prohibited. Organisations and businesses that dump snow into water are therefore forced to apply for and obtain time-bound exemptions from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Their approach in this subject is that operators who dump snow into water shall work
with geochemical characterization and quantification of the pollution effected by the dumped snow on the receiving waters compared with pollution from other sources.
In this project, the feasibility of environmentally safe disposal of urban snow into the harbour of Stockholm will be assessed by means of a proposed snow management tool (SMT) built on the following processes: stormwater and snow/snowmelt quality in the study area, snow removal and disposal processes, management of the collected snow/snowmelt quality, assessment of environmental issues and impacts caused by snow disposal into the harbour, and the selection of the most effective management option.
Additional features will include consideration of climate change scenarios and the generalization of project findings so that they can provide guidance for snow disposal in other Swedish municipalities.
The project is financed by The Swedish Research Council Formas, Luleå municipality, Örnsköldsvik municipality, Ports of Stockholm, NCC Roads AB, Stockholm Environment Department and The County Administrative Board of Stockholm.