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District Snow Team Closes Out ‘Back to Basics Week’ with Winter Weather Dry Run

Friday, October 28, 2022
Snow-plow operators ran their routes in simulation of an actual snow event.

(Washington, DC) – Today, the District’s Snow Team began a dry run of their operations at 6:00 a.m. to make sure that the District’s snow and ice operations are ready for wintry weather. At the morning launch, the Snow Team, led by the Department of Public Works (DPW) with support from the Department of Transportation (DDOT), showcased electric vehicles being used for the first time, as well as the continued use of other environmentally friendly measures, such as its biodiesel fleet and a salt-reduction pilot program.

“The Snow Dry Run is our opportunity to test out the District’s deployment plan, make sure all equipment is in good shape, and basically get a sense of what works well and what doesn’t in wintry weather conditions,” said Interim DPW Director Michael Carter. “This gives the DC Snow Team ample time to ensure that all systems—from intelligence tracking devices to physical equipment, to maintenance crews—are ready to help serve District neighborhoods in advance of the first snowfall. Residents can also play a role by signing up for the Serve DC Volunteer Snow Team to help neighbors shovel sidewalks and steps.”

The Snow Team—which also includes the Department of General Services, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and Serve DC—prepares for wintry weather year-round, with snow-plow operator simulation exercises beginning in the summer. Throughout the day on Friday, plow drivers will drive their routes, checking for obstacles they might encounter during an actual snow event. Administrative, supervisory, logistics, and information technology employees will practice their functions at their respective sites, including salt domes.

The Snow Team consists of more than 800 employees and a 283-vehicle fleet, including 150 heavy plows and 83 light plows. DPW was recently recognized with a “Green Fleet Award” by the National Fleet Management Association for its percentage of eco-friendly vehicles. Continuing in that vein, this year the Snow Team is adding 14 electric pick-up trucks for supervisors—the first four-wheel drive, all-electric vehicles in the team’s fleet. The team also continues to explore eco-friendly solutions with its pilot to evaluate Calcium Magnesium Acetate as a pretreatment alternative.Crews currently pre-treat roads with nearly 30,000 tons of salt, 86,000 gallons of brine and 12,500 gallons of raw beet juice.

“DC gets better and better each year in terms of balancing efficacy and the preservation of our environment while providing services that keep our roads and citizens safe,” said Carter. “In addition to testing less toxic pre-treatment alternatives, we will continue to expand our number of bio-diesel snow equipment while introducing even cleaner alternatives to provide service during the snow season and beyond.”

DPW also continues to enhance its use of technology so the snow team can monitor the effectiveness of the snow plowing team. A new application makes it easier for contract plows to track what routes have been covered, which allows the team to better target their efforts.

Residents can track snow removal progress in real-time by visiting With the District’s PlowTracker system, residents can see where the Snow Team’s plows have traveled throughout the city doing both pre-treatment and plowing for an ongoing snow event.

In preparation for winter, residents are reminded that they should call the shelter hotline at (202) 399-7093 when they see a person who is experiencing homelessness and outside during extreme temperatures. Residents are also encouraged to join Serve DC’s Volunteer Snow Team, which helps clear sidewalks for registered seniors who are 65 and older and residents with access functionality needs. Volunteers can sign-up at

For more information about DC’s snow program, preparing for winter weather, or to see where District Snow Team plows are during a storm, visit