ROCKLAND, Maine — City councilors postponed a vote Monday night on a proposal to prevent the city from dumping snow into the harbor off the municipal pier.
The postponement was agreed to in order to give city staff time to come up with alternative sites to get rid of the snow.
City Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said Rockland needs to pay attention to what it dumps in the harbor both to protect the fishermen and boaters. MacLellan-Ruf, who had served on the city’s harbor and waterfront committee before being elected to the council in November, said the city has lost berthing space on its pier because of the sediment that has been dumped along with the snow over the years.
The cost to dredge by the pier to recover those berthing spaces was estimated at $70,000, she said.
City Manager Tom Luttrell said Tuesday that the harbor was selected as a dumping site years ago because other locations did not meet the requirements set forth by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The city currently has a permit from the DEP allowing public works to dump snow in the harbor at the pier. Luttrell said city staffers are looking at alternative locations and will be consulting with the DEP.
Public Works Director Greg Blackwell said Tuesday the city has used the harbor at the fish pier as the dumping site since before he was hired as director in 2001. The snow comes from public parking lots and downtown sidewalks.
Blackwell said that any other dump site, such as the transfer station property, would add to snow removal costs. He said that the city trucks currently travel only about a quarter mile round trip. Using the transfer station property, for instance, would make it a four-mile round trip. In addition, the trucks would be driving through residential areas.
He said other potential alternative sites for dumping include the city athletic fields off Old County Road and the former MacDougal School property off Broadway.
The council voted to postpone action on the proposal to end dumping snow at the fish pier until its April 14 meeting. Any change would be for the next snow season. The council agreed, however, to approve an order to direct the city manager to come up with potential alternatives within 90 days.