Snow Graveyard: Where Public Works Puts all the Snow

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Love it or hate it, central Iowans are used to the snow by now after Mother Nature continues to drop measurable snow each week.

"I don`t mind winter. That`s why we live here," says Des Moines resident Sharon Vickery. "This is good snow, but we are just running out of places to put the snow."

Storm after storm, snowbanks are piling up fast. Vickery says she is running out of room to throw the snow she just shoveled.

"My neighbor and I were just talking," she laughs. "I'm trying not to throw snow on his sidewalk while he's clearing his."

Not just homeowners are faced with this problem, but so are business owners. Des Moines Public Works says it has a solution. Public Works Director Jonathon Gano says, "The challenge with nine more inches of snow is you have to make room and haul it out.  You have to have room to put fresh snow."

The snow ends up in a snow graveyard, a former waste management site along East 14th Street. Permitted snow removal contractors and city crews are are allowed to haul excess snow from streets and parking lots and put it there.

Martin Grading and Landscaping used the dumping site more than a half dozen times Sunday. "It's exhausting, but it's rewarding. It's got to be moved," says Derek Thomas, an employee for the company.

The city says it does not have a snow removal assistance program for homeowners. However, Gano says if a homeowner has a pile of snow that is causing a vision obstruction where it could be hazardous to motorists or pedestrians, they should call the city to have crews come remove the snow.


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