Launch Slideshow

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Where does the snow go?

Where does the snow go?

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    Quebec City's recipe for success: After trucks discharge, a plow, excavator, and blower work in concert to pile snow up to 72 feet high to make the most of dump space. Images: Quebec City Public Works Department

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    Trucks unload in a designated discharge area (bottom photo), while a blower piles the snow bank higher at the other end of the site (top). Snow that's been collected by loaders is piled separately and used as an abutment to prevent avalanches, and previously blown snow is added on top by the heavy-duty snowblower without fear of damage from foreign objects.

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    Rectangular site shape

    For maximum efficiency, Quebec City uses a rectangular site design with two discharge areas. Signalmen direct fully loaded trucks to one area to discharge before exiting the dump, while a blower in the other discharge area processes previous loads. Both sides work from the outside of the site toward the middle.

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    Decantation basins at dump sites retain water runoff and sediment until it can be analyzed and removed in spring. Only the lightest 10% of sediment from melted snow ends up in the bottom of the basin. About 90% stays on the dump site, where it's cleaned of all debris once the snow has melted.