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Westport Running Out of Space To Dump Snow

Plowed snow, like garbage, has to go somewhere after it's been removed from the streets. In Westport, that somewhere is Compo Beach or the municipal parking lot on Imperial Avenue. But with three big snowstorms in three short weeks, these areas are filling up fast.

"Basically, we're running out of storage space," said Stephen Edwards, director of the Department of Public Works. "Both locations have been severely impacted with the continuous storms."

Historically, the town sees four or five snowstorms by this time of year, Edwards said, so three storms in three weeks isn't a problem. The magnitude of the storms, however, is a problem.

During the day-after-Christmas storm, a foot of snow was dumped on the town. A week later, about 4 inches of snow blanketed the town. In this week's storm, the town saw as much as 19 inches of snow, as reported by Gov. Dannel Malloy in a news conference. "We're at 33 to 34 inches already, and that's much more than the norm," Edwards said.

With such limited space, he said, the department is no longer allowing private contractors to dump snow in these lots. That dumping space is reserved for the town's trucks.

What happens if — or when — another big snowstorm hits? "We're not having any more snow—I've willed it done," Edwards said with a laugh.

But Edwards said his crew would continue to use the designated areas by storing higher and wider.

Not only has all this snow created a storage problem, it's also cost a lot to remove. According to Edwards, his snow-removal budget for the current fiscal year is about $410,000. That money is just about gone, he said.

"While I haven't put the final numbers together, I believe we've reached, if not exceeded, that budget at this point," he said. "But we have an understanding with the Board of Finance to expand it and deal with the repercussions later on. We can't stop performing a primary function."

Are you running out of places to dump snow on your property? What do you think of the piles around town? Is it a winter wonderland or is it just a mess?

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