Over the next few months, the huge mountains of snow that have been transported from the streets of Winnipeg to the city’s snow dumps will finally melt away, leaving behind a large pile of road sand.
In what is believed to be a city first, this road traction material at snow disposal sites will be examined to see if it can be recycled for new use.
“We prefer to try to recycle this material if we can. We just need to see, operationally, how much debris there is…” said Michael Cantor, the city’s street maintenance manager. “The whole winter sand recycling thing is relatively new.”
Cantor said the city began recycling some road sand collected during street sweeping in the spring of 2018.
A pilot project at the former Summit Road Landfill designed to restore the site’s ‘native prairie landscape’ mixed sand from the road with biosolids (a solid by-product of sewage treatment) and wood chips (primarily from trees infected with Dutch elm disease or emerald ash borer). The city is now seeking provincial approval to make the project permanent.
If the sands from the snow dump are sufficiently intact to be used, they would be added to the project, Cantor said.
“As long as it could be used, we’re happy…and we don’t have to bury it anywhere else,” he said.
Cantor said he was unaware of any alternative options for reusing the sand, which vehicles wear down into small particles before winter ends.
“We can’t reuse it as winter (street) sand…because it breaks down (in the winter). You won’t get that traction because the aggregate is too small and it would fly off the street very quickly . at one stage (that it’s) almost dust at one point,” he said.
During the winter of 2021-2022, 114,000 tonnes of road sand was spread along snow-covered streets in Winnipeg, well above the 43,000 tonnes used the previous winter.
Meanwhile, there is no exact measurement of how much sand is accumulating at Winnipeg’s snow dumps, which are located on McPhillips Street and Kenaston Boulevard, as well as at sewage treatment plants. south and west ends. So far, this material has not been recycled.
City spokesman Ken Allen noted that Winnipeg officials are months away from finding out if sand recycling can be expanded, as the huge piles of snow are still expected to take months to melt. .
“The huge piles of snow are made up not only of snow and ice, but also of sand, salt residue, and other debris, so it’s too early to say how much sand could potentially be salvaged at this point. moment,” Allen wrote in an emailed statement.
Last winter, the city transported nearly 1.8 million cubic meters of snow to the dumps, which all reached their capacity limits. The tops of some snow piles at these sites are estimated to be between 50 feet and 100 feet high.
While snow at disposal sites typically melts in late August, some of this year’s haul could last well into September and need a little help breaking down, Allen wrote.
“In recent years, where we have experienced heavy snow accumulations, it has been necessary in mid-summer to mechanically open the snow pile to ensure that the snow will melt so that the floor of the snow disposal site can dry out and prepare for the coming winter…procedure may be required again this year,” he noted.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a reporter at City Hall for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.
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