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Bloomington Public Works wins national award for snow and ice removal

The award from the American Public Works Association will be presented at the 2014 North American Snow Conference in Cincinnati.

The Bloomington Public Works Department has received a national award for snow and ice removal.

The award, from the American Public Works Association, will be presented when this year’s snow is likely to have melted: at the 2014 North American Snow Conference in Cincinnati May 4-7.

Judges gave the award even before this season’s difficult snow and ice season.

The group’s goal is to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works snow and ice operations, and to promote the best practices in snow and ice removal while minimizing environmental impacts.

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The organization says that Bloomington has ranked high in surveys of similar-sized cities around the country in resident satisfaction in snow and ice control, coming in No.1 in 2012 and No. 2 in 2013.

The city was lauded for its  new public works garage, which keeps all snow and ice control equipment stored inside. That lets them pre-load trucks in advance of upcoming snowfalls, which increases efficiency.  And an almost 18,000-square-foot salt shed is used to store, load and mix salt with no exposure to weather, eliminating “unwanted chloride transport via storm water runoff or the wind.”

Karl Keel, Bloomington’s director of Public Works, said:

“These recent improvements in conjunction with the strong City Council support for equipment and operating budgets and tireless dedication of our employees allows us to provide service that is among the best in the nation.”

The public works association said two other Minnesota departments have won the snow and ice award in previous years: the Shingle Creek Watershed Commission, in Plymouth, in 2008 and the City of Prior Lake in 2010.