Farmington officials encourage residents to remove snow properly

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published December 22, 2017

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FARMINGTON — Farmington Superintendent of Public Works Chuck Eudy has a slight bone to pick with people who haphazardly push snow into their streets or don’t wait for snowplows and salt trucks to finish their job. 

Eudy said that while he understands some long-standing winter habits can be hard to break, there is a better way of removing snow and getting out of the driveway that is better for everyone. 

“We’re all creatures of habit — sometimes you can’t ever change that habit,” he said. “All we can do is advise people to try it a new way — see if it works.”

During a Dec. 18 Farmington City Council meeting, Eudy gave a presentation on what works and discussed efficient snow-removal techniques.

In a follow-up phone interview, he said, “By tendency, people in town, as soon as they see the salt trucks go by or the plow trucks go by, they run right out there and start clearing their driveways and don’t give us time to verify (that) we’ve plowed the roads (completely),” he said. “They get very upset with us when we have to come by again to make sure the roads are fully open.”

Eudy suggests that residents wait a half-hour to an hour after the trucks go by before clearing the end of their driveway. And when they do clear their driveway, they should clear it from the street back toward the house or garage, and not the other way around.

To help keep a driveway clear, residents can plow a path for snowplow snow to land on their property along the street, perpendicular to their driveway. Residents can clear the left (when facing the street) shoulder of the driveway and next to the street in a strip about 10 feet long and about 4 feet wide.

He said that will allow for minimal snow to fall back onto driveways.

“It will actually fall in the area that you’ve already shoveled there,” Eudy said.

He added that when people shovel from their home toward the street, they are making mounds of snow walls on either side of their driveway and/or covering up mailboxes or fire hydrants.

“You can’t seem to get out of your driveway,” he said. “The key thing to do is take your snowblower, or your shovel, make one pass all the way out to the street,” then work your way back toward your garage or home.

Eudy said that young people and youth groups should link up with senior citizens in the community who might need help shoveling.

Eudy said that snowplow and salt truck drivers will be grateful if everyone shovels correctly.

“We have dedicated employees here at Farmington,” he said, adding that oftentimes when those truck drivers have finished a long shift of plowing snow and salting roads, as they are about to clock out, they see residents throwing snow back onto the street.

“Kind of like when you wash your kitchen floor and you open the door, and the dog comes in and he is all muddy,” Eudy said.

Josh Leach, the city’s assistant superintendent of public works, said during a phone interview that he personally shovels part of the road in front of his home, in front of the mailbox, and will clean off his fire hydrant and storm drain when it snows.

“It’s nice to shovel out in front of the mailman (when he is driving),” he said of his Farmington Hills home. “And I keep the storm drain on my street clean so water can drain out. It helps with the water to drain on warm days. … I’m just a mindful neighbor.”

Eudy said that residents should also be mindful of water meters in their garages.

He said that in some areas of town, water meters are located inside garages. These water meters need to be kept warm enough to not freeze in cold weather. 

“Simply you can put a heat lamp around (it) or make sure that you have a heater in that garage near that water meter,” he said. “Typically, if that meter does freeze it will break.”

He said that the city will replace the meter, but will invoice residents the cost of the meter, which is about $250. 

“In the Alta Loma subdivision, there are quite a few homes with water meters in the garage,” he said.

For more information on snow shoveling tips from the city of Farmington, watch a brief video at www.vimeo.com/190937798.