ROCKLAND, Maine — The city expects to end its long practice of dumping snow in the harbor.
As the air conditioner in City Hall was working full tilt to cool the council chambers on a humid summer evening, councilors discussed an issue that is generally debated in the depths of winter.
The council will vote July 14 on whether to prohibit the dumping of snow in the harbor. The council had debated the matter in February but took no action.
Interim City Manager Tom Luttrell said the city has contacted the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to inform the agency that Rockland plans to use a 200-foot-by-400-foot area of city-owned land south of the transfer station for snow disposal.
The added cost to the city for using this site is being developed but Luttrell said there would be added costs for using a bulldozer to manage the snow at the land location on top of fuel costs and additional hours for personnel.
The city has been dumping snow from downtown plowing off the municipal-owned fish pier since at least 2001.
Public Works Director Greg Blackwell said in February that the disadvantages to the site near the transfer station is that it would be about a 4-mile round trip compared to less than a half mile now. In addition, he said the trucks would be driving through residential areas.
Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said that when considering costs, the city must recognize that it will be costing $70,000 to $90,000 to dredge the harbor where the snow is dumped because of the gravel that is mixed in with the snow. MacLellan served on the harbor management commission before her election to the council in November.
Luttrell said he would like the city to retain its license to dispose of snow off the fish pier in the event of the storm of the century.