Six months of winter, one metre of snow
In Canada, snow disposal is as important as waste disposal. The city of Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan, located in the so-called Western Prairie region. The flat terrain is well-suited for large farming operations during the summer. In winter, however, winds from the north bring a sizeable amount of snow into the plains. Snowfall usually starts in November and goes on until April. On average, each year brings one metre of snow.
The snow does not melt on its own for several months, which creates the need for a communal disposal system not unlike waste disposal. The municipality’s task is to provide a snow storage site to dispose of this large amount of snow: Each winter, up to 1,500,000 cubic metres of snow are dumped at the Regina snow storage – more than most cities produce in waste annually, and enough to fill 600 Olympic swimming pools.
Snow dumping licences have to be validated
In Regina, private companies plough roads and open spaces, and haul away the snow. “A supermarket, for example, will pay a private contractor to plough their parking lot. This contractor needs a license to dump the snow at the municipal dumping area,” Silvana Cantalini, Vice President of RFID Canada, explains. Snow can contain pollutants and chemicals which must not be brought into direct contact with ground water. Therefore, dumping snow in places other than designated disposal areas is illegal in Canada. In Regina, illegal dumping is punishable by a fine of 2,000 Canadian Dollars for individuals and 5,000 Canadian Dollars for companies.
This municipal snow disposal area has to be open 24 hours a day, but also has to be tightly monitored to prevent the unlicensed dumping of snow. All trucks coming in need to be authorised with an official contract. In practice, numerous companies and private haulers were dumping snow without a valid licence, creating high disposal costs for the municipality. Therefore, the city of Regina needed a way to automatically manage access to the dumping area and payment for non-licensed, private haulers.