By Virginia Dean, Standard Correspondent
The new village snow dump is in full operation now and is working “very well,” according to Woodstock Municipal Manager Phil Swanson.
Moved from its former location on the East End along Route 4 in what used to be known as “the jungle,” the dump is now found at Maxham Meadow Way that extends parallel along the federal highway past the historic Sunset Farm office building to the Woodstock Composting site off Bailey’s Meadow.
“It’s a little farther than before, but it’s now an easy way in and out,” said project licensed surveyor Bob Holt of Woodstock’s Holt Survey Associates. “There’s much more capacity, and the site is more environmentally responsible.”
Because of this environmental advantage, the site, which lies on the west side of Bailey’s Meadow on top of the bank, sits down low, between 400-500 feet from the river, so any bits of chemicals in the snow as it melts will be captured in the site and not leeched down the river, Holt said.
The biggest problem about the old site was the disposal of the chemicals along with the snow into the Ottauquechee River, Holt explained.
This would include the application of salt – often mixed with sand and gravel – or other ice-melting chemicals either before or during the onset of a storm in order to prevent or delay the formation and adhesion of ice and snow to the road surface, Holt said.
At its former location, the snow operation also involved trucks and heavy equipment with back-up alarms and a mountain of dirty snow
considered to be a detriment to the economic vitality of the East End, Swanson related.
Efforts to clean up this end of the village have centered on a new 2.3-acre East End Park that, when completed, is slated to feature an amphitheater, a slide down the hill, a vine-covered pergola for shade, picnic tables, benches, and assorted shrubs, flowers and trees. The initiative belongs primarily to Sustainable Woodstock, Landscape Architect Jack Rossi, and the East End Action Group whose efforts to obtain grants and match funds will culminate in the $375,000 project.
The new snow dump, that was engineer-designed and vetted by several environmental agencies, has been in the works for several years as a result of such required steps as land acquisition, state permits, and operating expenses including those for soil samples and conditions, extra ground water monitoring and transportation, Swanson noted.
In the summer of 2016, for example, the village of Woodstock purchased two acres from the Woodstock Resort Corporation on which to place the new snow dump. The acquisition was the culmination of an effort going back several years, beginning
in 2013, on behalf of Sustainable Woodstock and the East End Action Group working with Village Trustees.
Some $32,500 was raised by Sustainable Woodstock toward the $70,000 purchase. The Trustees were a driving force behind attaining a $175,000 grant to build the new snow dump, which is farther from the river and thus more environmentally sound, according to proponents.
“The purpose of the snow dump is to have a location to take the snow that is cleared from the edge of the road – primarily downtown – and make the streets available for parking, allowing all of us access to the stores,” said Swanson.
Now, there will be enough room to accommodate a snowy winter, he added.
“The highway department has picked up snow three times this winter while the average is 3-5 times,” said Swanson this week.
The road crew responsible for transporting the snow has not changed and includes four of the town’s Department of Public Works (DPW) trucks plus two additional haul trucks, Swanson said.
This article first appeared in the January 18, 2018 edition of the Vermont Standard.