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Illegally Dumped Snow Causing Problems

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Contact: Kristi Sandal, Public Information Officer, 605.773.3265


PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Department of Transportation is reminding the public and commercial snow removal operators that it is illegal to place or dump excess snow on highway right of way, which includes driving surfaces, shoulders and ditches. 


“The state has seen some significant snowfall the last few weeks and more snow is expected the next few days,” said Kristi Sandal, public information officer. “The space within the right of way needs to be reserved for future snowfall so the department’s plow operators have a place to put that snow. If the ditches are full from snow dumped by private and commercial entities, it severely hampers the department’s ability to clear roadways and make them safe for travel.”


Violation of the anti-dumping law is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines, or both. It is the policy of the SDDOT to remove snow that has been illegally piled within the highway right of way that may be a safety hazard. In addition, violators will be billed for the costs of removing illegally dumped snow.


“Piling snow in the state highway right of way can actually be very dangerous for motorists,” says Sandal. “Snow piles can restrict sight distance and they pose an extreme hazard if a vehicle leaves the roadway. Snow piles that remain adjacent to the road may cause additional drifting and visibility problems posing more safety hazards to travelers, as well as additional expenses for manpower and equipment to remove the illegally dumped snow.”


Property owners and access users are reminded it is their responsibility to remove snow from the ends of driveways and around their own mailboxes.


The department asks landowners and commercial snow-removal operators to keep excess snow on private property or haul it to legal dumping sites.


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