EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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February 22, 2013

Weekend forecast could present disposal problems

Public works officials, plowing contractors and private property owners are carefully watching forecasts as Mother Nature could dump 6 to 12 inches of snow across the region this weekend.

Huge piles from the blizzard two weeks ago still remain in many parking lots and disposal areas, meaning it will be more difficult to get rid of the snow if a significant amount falls.

“Snow is tough to get rid of,” said Tom Jarek, owner of TJ’s Landscaping, 39 Kenwood Road, Methuen. “You used to be able to dump in the Merrimack River years ago. Now, you’ve got to find spots.”

It’s not just private contractors looking for places to put their snow overflow.

City and town public works officials say they are also hoping for a lower snowfall amount from the weekend storm, since they could soon run out of places to put it.

In Andover, snow is trucked from the downtown shopping district to an open area off High Street, which is also used by Andover contractors.

“We only allow Andover snow to be dumped there,” said Acting Andover Public Works Director Chris Cronin. “And there’s only so much room.”

He said police, bulldozer operators and even the contractors themselves police the dumping area to make sure that only Andover snow is left behind.

“If we have many foreign loads come in, we have to shut it down,” Cronin said, “and then downtown businesses will be upset because we won’t be able to remove the snow.”

As of yesterday, he said, there was still “plenty of room” in the snow dump for another storm.

“We’ve only hauled twice this year,” he said. “The first haul was tiny. The blizzard was significant, but it wasn’t 8, 8-inch storms. We’re not in that position.”

Andover, like many communities, worked around the clock to clear snow from streets and sidewalks around its congested downtown after the blizzard hit. With winter technically over in about a month, the town has spent $900,000 of its $1.25 million snow removal budget.

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