Winter weather brings its own set of environmental challenges to the District. As snow and ice accumulate it becomes contaminated with salt, litter, dirt, and other pollutants. During the spring thaw those pollutants are washed away and can clog stormdrains and contaminate District waterways, like Rock Creek and the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. Salt used to prevent and remove ice impacts the District’s freshwater creeks, rivers, and streams and is extremely difficult and costly to remove once it is in the environment. Air emissions from idling car engines, gas-fueled equipment like snow blowers, and wood-burning fires can negatively impact air quality and harm human health.
Below is a list of things the Department of Energy and Environment is doing to help protect human health and the environment during the winter months. See what residents can do.
- Provide assistance, training, and environmental expertise to the District’s snow and ice removal operations.
- Safeguard DOEE’s ability to respond to environmental emergencies during snow and ice events. DOEE prepares for the snow season to ensure it is able to continue to respond to spills and other environmental emergencies no matter how bad the weather is.
- Research safe alternatives to salt. DOEE is partnering with the District’s Snow Team to achieve this with a Salt Alternatives Pilot during the winter of FY2021. Lessons learned from the pilot will be incorporated into the District’s Snow Plan to reduce the amount of salt used for snow and ice removal operations in the District while maintaining safety for all residents