The snow just won’t stop in Boston. In the past month, more than six feet of the fluffy white stuff has fallen in the Boston area. New Englanders are typically accustomed to snow, but in Boston, they are having a problem figuring it out where to put it. That’s where the harbor comes in. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has announced it’s just fine for the city to dump all the excess snow in the harbor. Just think of it as an old-fashioned iced tea party, Boston style.

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As a last resort, Walsh says that he will authorize the dumping of snow into Boston Harbor by the city. The practice was common until the 1990s when a massive clean up of Boston Harbor was initiated. Walsh has been in contact with the state’s environmental secretary Matthew Beaton to discuss the impact of disposing of the snow in this way. “We haven’t done it yet. We’re going to look at it,” Walsh said at a City Hall press conference.

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The city still has room on some of its snow farms, which are basically just vacant lots where snow is dumped after being plowed. Walsh says the city can “trump environmental concerns,” essentially dismissing the potential ecological impacts as being less important than the inconvenient snow. Other cities in Massachusetts, like Lawrence, Salem, Lowell and Marblehead have already alerted the state that they will need to dump snow in the ocean or rivers. Boston is also required to notify the state as well as the Boston Conservation Commission if it needs to plow snow into the ocean because the snow had become a public safety hazard, according to Edmund Coletta, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Generally, state law prohibits plows from pushing snow into waterways because the snow picks up oil, metals and other contaminants from the streets that do not belong in the water. George Bachrach, of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, agrees. “I think an argument can be made for public safety,” Bachrach said. “We rely on the mayor to use the harbor as the dumping point only as a last resort. We may have reached that moment.”

Via Popular Science

Images via WEBN-TV and bettlebrox via Flickr Creative Commons.