Snow: Bellevue should think salt next time

We never thought we’d cheer a rainy day in December. But we suspect there were many cheering the sound of raindrops last weekend. Two weeks of snow will do that.

We never thought we’d cheer a rainy day in December. But we suspect there were many cheering the sound of raindrops last weekend. Two weeks of snow will do that.

As much as people groused about the snow, at least most were home for Christmas. No so many city workers who continued to plow and sand day and night and over the holiday. That’s cause for a round of applause.

Still, the heavier-than-normal snowfall should cause city officials to rethink how it handles such situations.

The city was plowing, sanding and de-icing throughout the ordeal. The main arterials were kept mostly under control, but it was an ongoing battle.

Low elevations in Bellevue got 12 inches of snow. When is the last time you can recall that happening? For those living up on the likes of Somerset and Cougar Mountain it was worse - much worse.

Add the impact of freezing nights and residents had to deal with ice on top of the snow. Eventually icy ruts developed on many streets.

With the snow now gone, but still a strong memory, the city should look again at how it handles snow.

Bellevue, like many other cities, uses a combination of sand and a de-icer made of a calcium chloride compound. That is considered less corrosive and more environmentally friendly than salt, which is used by the state Department of Transportation.

The question now is, should salt itself have been used?

Those who deal with this issue say that sand can be more harmful to the environment than salt. Sand washes into storm drains while salt tends to be diluted by melting snow to the point where it is unlikely to harm vegetation.

Most years this isn’t an issue. A typical 1-inch snowfall doesn’t stop too many people from getting out and about. But every now and then we get dumped on.

Given this latest incident, it would be prudent of the city council to consider a salt alternative when extreme conditions call for it. This year was certainly one of them.

Time to think

about using salt

We never thought we’d cheer a rainy day in December. But we suspect there were many cheering the sound of raindrops last weekend. Two weeks of snow will do that.

As much as people groused about the snow, at least most were home for Christmas. No so many city workers who continued to plow and sand day and night and over the holiday. That’s cause for a round of applause.

Still, the heavier-than-normal snowfall should cause city officials to rethink how it handles such situations.

The city was plowing, sanding and de-icing throughout the ordeal. The main arterials were kept mostly under control, but it was an ongoing battle.

Low elevations in Bellevue got 12 inches of snow. When is the last time you can recall that happening? For those living up on the likes of Somerset and Cougar Mountain it was worse - much worse.

Add the impact of freezing nights and residents had to deal with ice on top of the snow. Eventually icy ruts developed on many streets.

With the snow now gone, but still a strong memory, the city should look again at how it handles snow.

Bellevue, like many other cities, uses a combination of sand and a de-icer made of a calcium chloride compound. That is considered less corrosive and more environmentally friendly than salt, which is used by the state Department of Transportation.

The question now is, should salt itself have been used?

Those who deal with this issue say that sand can be more harmful to the environment than salt. Sand washes into storm drains while salt tends to be diluted by melting snow to the point where it is unlikely to harm vegetation.

Most years this isn’t an issue. A typical 1-inch snowfall doesn’t stop too many people from getting out and about. But every now and then we get dumped on.

Given this latest incident, it would be prudent of the city council to consider a salt alternative when extreme conditions call for it. This year was certainly one of them.