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Erik Burgess, Published December 07 2012

Fargo officials say snow-melting machine worth city’s investment

FARGO – City officials began looking at using a snow melting machine a year ago, and a recently completed feasibility study said it’s worth the investment, Director of Public Works Ben Dow said.

“It is still on the radar. I don’t see it for 2013,” Dow said.

He said Fargo is looking at a $350,000 machine, which is basically a “big burner and a bath tub,” that would help clear out the large piles of snow in the city’s 149 cul-de-sacs.

Crews would dump snow into the machine, which holds water at 80 to 100 degrees and is powered by diesel fuel. It would discharge melted snow into a designated site – typically a sewer system. A waste bin collects any debris or trash from the snow.

Dow said with the machine, he could cut his fleet of snow removal trucks after a 6-inch snowfall from 12 to one.

Dow said Friday he will be traveling and studying the few manufacturers that make the machines, with plans to make a “hard request” in a later budget.