An Aero snow melters (Aero company photo)
An Aero snow melter (Aero company photo)

Curious reader Dave Marsh wrote us the other day:

“During the Big Dig Out, shortly after the recent Big Snow, I read a short item saying that DC had borrowed a snow melting machine from another city. If there was a follow-up story I missed it, so here are my questions: How does such a machine work? What was DC’s experience with it? Where was it located during its operation?”

We sent his inquiry along to the always-helpful Linda Grant, spokeswoman at the D.C. Department of Public Works. She quizzed her colleagues who had a hand in the operation of the machines, and she provided this report:

“Three snow melters were used in the District: the Snow Dragon, which was operated by District employees. Two other melters, manufactured by Aero, were operated by their own staff.”

How does such a machine work?

“All three melters work similarly. The snow is placed in the melter and water comes out through a discharge pipe. Debris, trash, and particulate matter are trapped so they do not flow into the stormwater system.”


Graphic provided by the Snow Dragon company that shows how their machine works.

What was DC’s experience with it?

“All three snow melters worked effectively.”

Where was it located during its operation?

“The Snow Dragon was housed at RFK Lot 7 and at Potomac and R Streets, SW where we also staged snow operations. The two other melters supporting our effort were located at RFK.”

Good questions, Dave. Thanks for your help, Linda.