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Mayor Bowser and District Snow Team Prepare for Winter Weather

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
With winter weather dry run, snow plow operators get ready by simulating actual winter event

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that members of the District’s Snow Team will host a training exercise to ensure they are prepared for every aspect of the District’s snow and ice operations. The Snow Team is led by the Department of Public Works (DPW), with support from the Department of Transportation (DDOT).
 
“The winter weather dry run gives us an opportunity to inspect and evaluate all the pieces that go into a successful winter weather response,” said Mayor Bowser. “The dry run is also a good reminder that now is the time for Washingtonians to sign up for the Serve DC Volunteer Snow Team. This year, we’re especially looking for volunteers in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 who can deploy to help their neighbors shovel sidewalks and steps after a snowfall.”
 
The Snow Team—which also includes the Department of General Services, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and Serve DC—prepares for wintry weather year-round, with snow-plow operator simulation exercises beginning in the summer. Throughout the day today, plow operator will drive their routes, checking for obstacles they might encounter during an actual snow event. Administrative, supervisory, logistics, and information technology employees will practice their functions at their respective sites, including salt domes, to thoroughly assess the status of equipment and technology.
 
“The Snow Dry Run gives our team the chance to test every function of our snow operations and the equipment utilized during the snow season well in advance of the area’s anticipated first snowfall,” said Acting DPW Director Christine Davis. “This allows us to resolve any concerns in advance to ensure that we are ready to restore District streets quickly and safely when inclement weather hit DC.”
 
The District Snow Team consists of 882 employees and a 296-vehicle fleet, including 120 heavy plows and 100 light plows, and this year will include 46 100% biodiesel plows. Each year, snow-plow operators clear 2,644 lane miles of residential and commercial streets, as well as the National Highway System.
 
During winter weather events, the Snow Team pre-treats roads with nearly 42,000 tons of salt, 86,000 gallons of brine and 10,500 gallons of raw beet juice. DPW continues to explore eco-friendly solutions through initiatives such as a pilot project with the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to evaluate Calcium Magnesium Acetate as an alternative to salt, which can be toxic to aquatic life and damage to our infrastructure.
 
“Mayor Bowser has made protecting the environment a priority for our city,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “I appreciate my agency’s partnership with DPW to pilot new environmentally friendly approaches to keeping our roads safe this winter, while protecting our important waterways.”

DPW also continues to enhance its use of technology, so the Snow Team can monitor its effectiveness in clearing the streets. Residents can track snow removal progress in real-time by visiting snow.dc.gov/page/about-track-our-plows.
 
In preparation for winter, residents are reminded that they should call the shelter hotline at (202) 399-7093 when they see a person who is experiencing homelessness and outside during extreme temperatures. Residents are also encouraged to join Serve DC’s Volunteer Snow Team, which helps clear sidewalks for registered seniors who are 65 and older, and residents with access functionality needs. This year, Serve DC especially needs volunteers in Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8. Volunteers can sign-up at servedc.galaxydigital.com.  
 
For more information about DC’s snow program, preparing for winter weather, or where District Snow Team plows are during a storm, visit snow.dc.gov.