The case for snow relocation

Consider these scenarios when removing and relocating snow piles for a client.

Removing and relocating snow piles can avoid potential hazards on properties.
Photos courtesy of Schill Grounds Management

If a commercial client has limited space for storing and/or staging snow or large piles, then they need to be aware of the unsafe conditions these piles pose to the general public. These heaping mounds of snow and ice provide contractors with an opportunity to offer hauling and relocation services to move these piles to another location on their property or offsite to a snow disposal facility.

Here are three scenarios to point out to property owners that help make the case for snow pile relocation and removal.

Unwanted attention.

What may seem like innocent winter fun could be a death trap for children and even adults. Although they may look hard and sturdy, large snow piles contain soft spots or pockets of air that can lead to sink holes. Kids, especially, can fall in, causing the pile to collapse, trapping them and leading to suffocation. If they survive, long-term exposure can result in hypothermia.

Furthermore, while building snow forts and making snow angels in piles at the apron of condo or apartment complex driveways, children typically do not pay attention to vehicles and snowplows as they approach. It’s very difficult for drivers to see over piles while children are playing. They often have to plow into the pile to move snow away from the street. The result is often a serious injury to anyone on the pile.

Pile placement.

In the event of a snow storm, plow trucks should be cautious about what areas snow is piled to avoid creating potential hazards. Piles should be away from stop signs, fire hydrants, street corners, driveway aprons and handicap accessible locations.

They should also be kept as far away from entry and exit points of buildings in the event of an emergency. These piles make entering and exiting a facility extremely difficult and unsafe for EMS providers when responding to emergency calls. The relocation or removal of these piles alleviates any possible obstruction of signage or lot entryways.

Removing large snow piles can help prevent refreezing issues, which pose significant dangers to pedestrians as the area becomes slick.


Throughout the day, the sun heats the surfaces around the pile causing them to melt. The water generated from these piles will naturally make its way to a low spot or drain. As the sun sets temperatures begin to cool, this creates refreeze and icy conditions. As a result, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways and roadways can become extremely slick and dangerous to pedestrians.

When possible, piles should always be placed close to the high side near a drain to capture the water as it melts. As a precautionary measure, the area around the piles may need to be salted to eliminate slippery conditions. Again, removal of these piles mitigates the potential for refreeze and conditions for an unnecessary, and avoidable, slip-and-fall incident.

Properties such as condominiums, townhomes, apartments, retail and even large manufacturing and industrial sites that operate 24/7 all benefit from snow removal, relocation and hauling services.

With this in mind, these three real-world scenarios make a solid case for contractors to work with clients to address these potential problems, either at contract time or during the snow season if unseasonable winter conditions result in a large number or sized snow piles on a property.

Typically, I provide these services upon client request and charge based on a time and material basis. I prefer to do the work in off hours (typically overnight) and use large semi and tri-axle trucks as well as front-end loaders to load, move, and stack snow and ice material.

Jerry Schill is president and co-owner of Schill Grounds Management.

July 2019
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