Filthy snow piles remain, even as temperatures climb

They’re unsightly, filled with garbage and debris, and serve as a daily reminder of just how awful the winter really was — and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Lingering snow piles from the historic New England winter continue to plague municipalities in Greater Boston, even as temperatures creep toward the 90s and spring makes way for summer.

In Boston, what was once a 75-foot-high snow mound on a parcel of land on Tide Street in the Seaport District has been reduced to a three-story pile of dirt and discarded household items that remain encrusted in solid ice. But even with the beating rays from the sun, nothing seems to be powerful enough to zap away winter.


“The fact that it’s still there is a science experiment waiting to happen,” said Michael Dennehy, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Works. Dennehy said the snow mound, which dates to January, looks more like a landfill, thanks to all of the objects left on the streets and scooped up by plows before being dumped.

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Crews have been working for six weeks to clean away the trash as it breaks free from the mound. So far, they have pulled 85 tons of debris from the pile, he said.

“It’s vile,” he said. “We’re finding crazy stuff; bicycles, orange cones that people used as space savers — the funniest thing they found was half of a $5 bill. They’re looking for the other half still.”

The snow has lingered so long that crews even started a pool to guess when it will finally vanish. Dennehy is losing.

“I said by May 30, but that’s this weekend,” he said. “It’s still weeks away from melting.”


Somerville also has remnants of the winter haunting the city. Over by Assembly Row, on a state-owned piece of land, two piles of snow stand, looking more like small, ash-covered volcanoes.

“It’s like a wintertime snow pile’s evil twin. It’s dirty, and there’s a reasonable amount of trash there,” said Denise Taylor, spokeswoman for the city.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.