There's still snow in Boston? Yes, and a big mess too

A giant mound of snow -- a 3-story-high remnant of Boston's harsh winter -- still sits at the city's harbor

More than 108.6 inches of snow blanketed Boston this winter, and it's still not gone.

A mountain of snow, colored gray with dirt and mixed with debris, still towers three stories high over Boston streets.

Temperatures reached 82 degrees in the city Thursday and water dripped from the grungy mass, but the packed snow is expected to stick around until the Fourth of July and a bit beyond, said Mike Dennehy, commissioner of public works for the city of Boston.

“It’s just encrusted in dirt and grime, and it’s insulated by that,” Dennehy said. “Some parts of it are still ice.”

As snowplows tried to clear streets covered during the city's harshest winter ever, they swept up litter and debris.  Trucks carried the snow to remote locations in the city, Dennehy said. The last major pile is on the south Boston waterfront next to Boston Harbor.

Tons of garbage -- along with objects accidentally scooped up -- landed inside the pile. City workers have pulled all manner of objects from the jumble -- bikes, chairs, traffic cones, shopping carts, street signs, fire hydrants. Even ironing boards.

Dennehy said the city collected 3,200 fewer tons of waste during January and February, in part because the snow kept people at home and out of shopping centers, but also because thousands of tons of garbage was swept away with the white powder.

Since the snow piles started to melt, the city has reclaimed about 1,000 tons of trash at a high cost. Each ton costs the city between $60 and $74 to collect.

The problems created by Boston’s unprecedented snowfall extends beyond waste collection -- the mounds were so heavy they left giant depressions in the ground.

The last remaining pile once stood six stories high and covered four acres. It's now about 30 feet high and 100 feet wide.

The city will know soon how much junk was carted off with the unwanted snow as summer approaches and the pile begins to melt faster.

“It’s one of the most unique things I’ve ever been a part of and hope to never be a part of again,” Dennehy said.

Twitter: @katemshepherd

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