City of Fargo considering snow melter purchaseFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - There's not even a trace of white stuff on the ground here in Fargo, much different from this time last year. But the city of Fargo is planning ahead.
There's not even a trace of white stuff on the ground here in Fargo, much different from this time last year. But the city of Fargo is planning ahead. It wants to be more prepared for those winters when the piles of snow seem never ending - and that could mean one major purchase.
That big purchase could be a snow-melting machine. Used commonly in the big cities and at major airports, the melters could mean huge cost savings. But first, it comes with one huge price tag.
Ben Dow – Fargo Public Works Director: “Land within the city is getting hard to come by, developers are coming by and snapping it up.”
It works like this: The machine sits in one place as pay-loaders and bobcats dump snow into what is essentially a big bath of hot water. It's then discharged out the bottom.
Ben Dow: “If we wanted to discharge that water that we are melting into our sanitary sewer system, we could do that, which would be a win-win because then we would be treating the water before it hits our river systems.”
Prices range anywhere from $250,000 to more than one million. Machines can also be rented for about 40-thousand dollars a month. The machines will melt anywhere from 50-300 tons of snow an hour. It seems like a lot, but how much is it exactly?
John Wheeler – StormTRACKER Meteorologist: “Well the average weight of snow is about 10 pounds, so if you take an average 6 inch snow fall, this machine could chew up a little less than half-a-mile of street in an hour. So, in an overnight it could melt quite a bit of snow out of downtown Fargo.”
At a cost of $18,000, a consultant has spent the last year figuring out a way to solve Fargo's dumping problem. So far, Dow says this seems like a logical, cost-saving idea. Just clearing cul de sacs by hauling the snow to a dump site can cost the city almost 1,000 gallons of fuel a day.
Ben Dow: “With fuel at $4 a gallon, you can just imagine how fast our fuel bill ads up, so anything that can save us money we're looking to do.”
Dow says he will be meeting with the consultant next Wednesday. If a purchase or rental is made, the product wouldn't be tested until at least next winter.