A federal grant introduced final week ensures to fund enchancment on a snowsoften system for downmetropolis Berlin’s streets and sidewalks.

Amid rising concern about Using salt to soften snow in New Hampshire and Throughout the nation, the enterprise Can be the state’s first municipal snow-soften system, with metropolis officers hoping To save tons of hundreds of dollars Yearly on snow eradicating and reduce down on salt damage to Berlin’s bridges, automobiles and the Androscoggin River.

The snowsoften enterprise will use extra warmth from the Burgess BioPower biomass plant, pumped under downmetropolis streets and sidewalks, To Increase the temperatures of the pavement above freezing, and softening ice and snow with out chemical compounds.

Placing in the system Would require An complete re-do of downmetropolis streets and sidewalks, which Shall be paid for by the grant, collectively with new ramps for wheelchairs and strollers, and even the planting of extra threes alongside the sidewalks. Berlin officers hope the enhancements will convey extra exercise and funding to downmetropolis — a lot as a sidewalk-widening enterprise in Concord did a quantity of yrs in the past.

Berlin has been pursuing the enterprise for Greater than 5 yrs, however discovering The money has been an impediment for the money-strapped metropolis.

The metropolis was denied for an $18.7 million grant from the U.S. Division of Transportation Inside The autumn of 2020, however gained a $19.5 million Enhance grant from the department this yr. The grant was introduced earlier this week.

Last yr, Manchester acquired a $25 million Enhance grant to spur reenchancment of The financial space between Elm Road and the Merrimack River round Gasoline Road and the Manchester Transit Authority depot. Each grants have been funded by the bipartisan infrastructure regulation handed in 2021, of which New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was a lead negotiator.

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier said in A press launch thOn the funding Can furtherly pay to re-do downmetropolis streets and sidewalks — liberating up metropolis and state funds Which might have gone to street and sidewalk restore.

If the enterprise is accomplished, Berlin officers have Prior to now estimated saving $100,000 Yearly in snow-eradicating prices. The metropolis’s price range for salt and sand alone in 2022 is over $200,000.

Too salty

New Hampshire was The primary state To make the most of street salt To primarytain ice and snow off the streets in winter, with The primary crystals hitting pavement in 1941.

Snowsoftening salt working off streets can create chloride contamination. As of 2020, New Hampshire counted 50 chloride-impacted lakes and streams, with A lot of the contamination seen in southern New Hampshire cities alongside Interstate 93 — notably Derry, Londonderry, Windham and Salem.

Chloride On The levels Current in New Hampshire’s waterways doesn’t harm people, Even when It’d give water an off-putting type. However it might kill fish, and the crops and organisms fish eat.

A College of Connectireduce researcher furtherly found that whereas some small organisms die As quickly as they stay in too-salty water, mosquito larvae Are likely to thrive.

Salt can furtherly corrode the metallic that reinforces bridges, overpasses and parking garages, and salt damage to infrastructure and automobiles has been estimated to value the nation between $16 billion and $19 billion every winter.


The enterprise hinges on The present of extra warmth from the Burgess BioPower plant, a biomass plant that burns low-grade wooden to warmth water, creating steam that spins turbines and creates power. Scorching water genepriced in that course of would be used to soften snow.

However The Prolonged time period viability of biomass power in New Hampshire is fragile.

A wave of biomass crops closed in 2019. Burgess sells power to Eversource above the market price For numerous Kinds of power.

This yr, Gov. Chris Sununu signed a regulation That permits the Berlin plant To primarytain that association For An further yr, although he has vetoed subsidies for the enterprise in previous legislative durations.

Grenier has Prior to now furtherly floated The althought of a metropolis-owned biomass operation.



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