Jun 5, 2015 5:30 PM

Mix of old snow, dirt and garbage creates eyesore on Pierce Island


PORTSMOUTH - It's June but there's still snow on Pierce Island in Portsmouth -- but unfortunately that's not all.

During the winter months, the island was used by the city's Department of Public Works as a snow dump. At the height of the winter, the snow rose about five stories high and spread the length of a football field. Unfortunately, as the snow melted over the past several months, piles of trash and debris were left behind.

Walking past the snow pile, Paul Unrue of Portsmouth told us, "enough is enough."

Despite the warm temperatures, and the calendar's date, snow lingers on the shore of Pierce Island. The filthy pile has been dubbed "snirt" - a mix snow, dirt and trash - by the public works crew. As the snow melts, more of the dirt and trash are coming to the surface.

Portsmouth DPW Director, Peter Rice said they've found all sorts of strange objects in the snow dump. Bumpers to cars and shopping carts are among the items that were scooped up by plow operators and dumped at Pierce Island. Every week, city workers haul more trash to landfills.

Currently, hay bales and fencing are used to keep debris and trash from spilling into the Back Channel. But contamination is still a problem. Just off-shore, a broken orange plastic traffic cone was visible underwater.

"The plastics, which can cause animals to choke, are a concern," said Rice.

He says the city plans to build a new rain garden here to help filter filthy snow.

"We're going to incorporate that into the area to provide additional treatment. It helps separate the pollutants, said Rice.


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