Is melting snow causing water issues on your property? Image credit: Jennifer Fetter
Winter snow often puts a pristine white coat over every surface that makes for beautiful photos and lots of family fun. However, it’s not long before the sun comes out to expose a host of issues created by the melting snow. Just like when rain falls the rest of the year, melting snow turns into stormwater runoff. Heavy rains sweeping across your yard and driveway carry pollution and high volumes of water into our nearby streams, lakes, and other waterways. Melting snow does the same things. Both rain and snow melt can seriously impair Pennsylvania’s waters when they travel over the land in our developed communities. They can also cause significant property damage at your home.
In winter, melting snow actually causes a few unique stormwater problems. Because the ground is often frozen at the surface, melting snow can’t infiltrate into the soil the way a light or moderate rain would be able to. So even a small amount of snow can cause localized flooding on your property. When snow builds up over several small storm events without melting in between, it can turn into large winter storm impacts when it finally does melt – leading to potential community wide flooding events. In both cases, that standing and flowing water on the ground is picking up all kinds of debris, pollutants (especially de-icing salts and chemicals), and litter that will find their way into nearby streams.