Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff-Melting Snow Dump- Crystal has story-Water collects in a holding pond as the snow dump in the Edgar Industrial Area on the north end of Red Deer melts.

Handling the meltdown

Handling the meltdown

Let it melt, let it melt.

The city’s three snow storage sites have what it takes to handle the thawing from this winter’s record snowfall.

City of Red Deer Public Works manager Greg Sikora said there are no environmental concerns because the two permanent sites and a temporary site were prepared and developed to manage the melt.

“Any runoff or debris is collected within the site and managed within a series of physical weirs, wet ponds and storm treatment facilities that would restrict that transport of sediment floatables or debris into the river,” said Sikora.

Sikora said the drainage from storage areas is typically a pond facility that allows settlement of the sediment. There is also a storm treatment facility to catch the hydrocarbons, the floatables and the sediment components in the water before it discharges into the storm system to the Red Deer River.

In late January, the city was forced to refuse private contractors access to its snow storage sites because the two permanent sites had reached full capacity.

A temporary snow site was opened on the North Highway Connector road right-of-way in east Red Deer. The site fit the bill because it was located on an unconstructed road with storm drainage and storm treatments.

Sikora said the temporary site met all the requirements for a storage facility, which is the reason it was chosen out of 50 possible sites.

Sikora said the heat of rain generates the most runoff. On hot days, there is less runoff.

“Rain days are the worst days that melt the snow,” said Sikora. “But the strong infrastructure and the containment systems have been sized to contain that discharge rate. The third site was constructed for the purpose of draining the road under one-in-five-year peak events. Our snow runoff is less than that.”

November alone was the snowiest month ever recorded by Environment Canada for Red Deer, coming in at 62.5 cm versus a mean average of 16.6 cm for the month.

Just over 20 cm blanketed Red Deer in January, followed by a mere 2.6 cm in February and 29.6 from March 1 to 26 (also above the monthly average of 20.4 cm).

Today’s expected high is 14C, with a low of 4C, in Red Deer.

Rain is in the forecast for late today and Wednesday, and then temperatures will cool for the rest of the week.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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