KITCHENER -- The City of Kitchener's $3 million snow storage and disposal site is making sure to let the process happen naturally and without a serious environmental impact.

Scott Berry, the roads and traffic operations manager for the city, notes that the location is not a snow dump due to the environmental engineering that's gone into it.

"At our previous facilities, which were more of a dump, we did have unauthorized contractors depositing their snow there," he said. "We need to know where that snow is coming from and what it contains."

While it doesn't look like much is happening on the surface, the city says that a whole system is at work beneath the mountain of snow.

"It goes into an underground collection system which is monitored for salidity," said Berry. "It it's too high it will go to the sanitary system where it will be treated."

If the road salt levels are low enough, however, a computer will send it into the storm system and into a receiving stream.

There are also water monitoring wells below the surface to ensure environmental impacts are minimized through the use of the facility.

Berry adds that the snow is collected from primary routes like LRT tracks, bike lanes, and major roadways within 24 hours of a significant snowfall.

The City of Kitchener has reportedly budgeted for about $780,000 of snow loading maintenance this year.

"It's an equipment heavy activity," he said. "Most of your costs would be from equipment, and there's lots of it."

Berry says that while they have the capacity for about 240,000 cubic metres of snow, they average about 100,000, and are leaving space for bigger snowfalls and the city's future growth.