After a summer filled with sunshine, most folks are trying to avoid the thought that this week’s rain might be here to stay. And even less are thinking about the prospect of snowfall in future months. But that’s exactly what the Kodiak City Council had to do during its work session last night as it planned for potential snow storage locations.
Back in December Public Works Director Mark Kozak notified the council that the city’s age-old method of dumping snow off a small pier at the end of the spit would no longer fly with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Back in 2006 the DEC found that salt, dirt and some pollutants are often put in the water along with the snow, and all dumping must be permitted.
The alternative is stockpiling the snow, and the city hired Dowl HKM engineers to identify likely spots for a snow storage yard. Last night the company’s project manager, Aaron Christie, presented the three potential locations for snow storage.
Christie said one of the sites is adjacent to Safeway, on the large gravel lot that sits near Blockbuster.
“Six acres that’s already cleared throughout and being used apparently for snow disposal locally. No wetlands, no permit requirements, and it’s in a commercial industrial environment. One of the biggest downsides is that it’s not city owned.” Another site is at the base of Pillar Mountain, behind the water treatment plant. Christie said there would be some permitting involved, since a lot of the area is near wetlands, which feed into a Coho Salmon stream.
Councilman Rich Walker said he was in full support of this location if the city obtains the proper permits because it’s centrally located and easy for dump trucks to access, among other things.
“That site during the wee hours or whenever they’re working on the snow removal, you would not be hearing the heavy equipment going on, or the trucks dumping their loads. And it’s pretty accessible back there. You also have a good drainage through the wetlands through there which I don’t think it will be that big of a permitting problem for you because there is quite a bit of area between where you want to put that end where the supposed stream has always been through there.”
The final site Christie recommended was near the intersection of Selief Lane and Von Scheele Way, on a plot of land that the city currently uses to store items for various departments. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski mentioned this as a con to choosing this site.
“Only a note of caution, we have so little storage access so if we end up having to compromise our existing storage area that will have to find another spot and develop that which could come with associated costs.”)
Christie said more research will be done on those three sites, and Dowl HKM will report back to the council in the near future with their recommended spot for snow storage.