Town impact: What does it cost to clean up snow in Darien, and where does it go?

Darien’s Public Works staff was removing snow from the Noroton Heights train station parking lot on Tuesday via bulldozer and dump truck. The snow is taken to the Darien’s refuse center. — Susan Shultz photo

 
Darien’s Public Works staff continues to dig Darien out from it’s heavy snow fall last week that closed school on Tuesday and caused a school delay on Wednesday. Last week’s storm clean-up cost Darien about $40,000, according to Finance Director Jennifer Charneski.
There is no specific snow budget, Charneski said, but the current year’s budget included approximately $254,000 for man hours, ice control materials and contractors.
“To date, we have spent approximately $199,000 on these items,” she said. For comparison purposes, Charneski said the town spent $115,000 in 2016 on snow cleanup.
Assistant Public Works Director Darren Oustafine said while the train stations are usually maintained by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, that only includes the tracks. The town is responsible for train station snow removal.
The trucks are being used to haul snow from both Darien and Noroton Heights Train Stations as well as the towns municipal lots like Grove Street and Center Street, Oustafine said, to free up parking spaces. The snow is being taken to Darien’s Refuse and Recycling Center.
In the past, Darien has dumped excess snow at Weed Beach.
“We did used to haul snow to the beach and we will again in the future.  If we were in January and had much more snow than we’ve had this year, we might be using the beach because our transfer station does not have enough room for large amounts of snow,” Oustafine said.
While we all might hope this is the last of winter’s wrath, here’s a reminder that residents and businesses  also have a responsibility to remove snow as per town ordinance.