At the BMCA Board meeting on February 8, the Board discussed the information it had received on the hazardous materials and toxic chemicals emitted by operation of heavy industrial equipment such as what is used by the County when hauling snow through our neighborhood streets and at the Bluemont Park South Parking lot for emergency snow storage and melting procedures during the extreme snowfall of last winter. The Board voted unanimously to send the following letter in response, copying the Arlington County Manager and the Arlington Board. A full copy of the Board letter can be found here: Snow Removal Operations Melting Concerns – BMCA – Feb 2017
February 22, 2017
Greg Emanuel, Director
Arlington County Department of Environmental Services
2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22201
Re: Emergency snow storage at Bluemont Park south parking lot – health and hazardous material concerns
Dear Mr. Emanuel:
I am writing as a follow-up to our previous correspondences in February through September of last year, where the Boulevard Manor Civic Association expressed concerns over the use of the Bluemont Park south parking lot for snow storage and melting operations. Though we have been fortunate to avoid any significant snow events this year necessitating the use of this parking lot for snow storage and melting operations, the potential for such use going forward remains a significant concern for our Civic Association members and community.
In addition to the concerns that we have noted before in my email of March 10, 2016 and letter of August 11, 2016, we have now been made aware of even greater impacts and dangers this type of snow melting and heavy equipment operations causes in terms of release of chemical and environmental hazards. While these hazards may be localized and primarily affect nearby residents, it only adds more angst among our Civic Association members and neighbors and thus further substantiates the need for Arlington County to find an alternate location to conduct these operations going forward.
Ensuring the safety – both from the physical dangers of literally hundreds of large industrial dump trucks transiting our neighborhood and also from the dangers of chemical and hazards these operations generate and are potentially introducing into our neighbors (and families and children) – is our top priority.
Though we appreciate the fact that your options are limited to conduct snow storage and melting operations, and all other viable alternatives may not be at zero cost, the safety of the Boulevard Manor Civic Association members and community should be paramount.
I look forward to hearing back from you regarding how the County plans to protect our community, including the families whose houses back directly to the parking lot, from the toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials that we now know are involved in snow melting and snow storage operations. Ceasing snow storage and snow melting operations at the Bluemont Park south parking lot is the best way to address and eliminate these safety concerns to our neighborhood.
Boulevard Manor Civic Association President
CC: Mark Schwartz, Arlington County Manager
Arlington County Board