New York City is no stranger to snow. The City gets anywhere between 20 to 60 inches of snow every year. Granted, it’s not all at once, but snow does accumulate, and when that happens, city officials need to find a way to get rid of all that snow before it clogs the streets and causes traffic congestion problems in the city that doesn’t sleep.
Enter the giant New York City snow hot tubs. The Sanitation Department has 36 snow melters around the city. According to Gothamist, 29 of those are deemed “regular sized” and can dispense of 60 tons of snow per hour, and seven of them are “mega-melters,” which can go through 130 tons of snow per hour. If you’re having trouble imagining a single ton of snow, it’s 1.5 feet of snow in a 4 feet by 6 feet rectangle.
“It’s like a quote-unquote hot tub,” Sanitation spokesperson Belinda Mager told Gothamist. The water used isn’t hot, per se, but it is warm enough to melt the snow. After it melts, it’s filtered and piped to a treatment plant.
New York City has been using its giant hot tubs to melt snow since the mid 1990s. Before that, all the snow was just pushed into out of the way places. Hot tubs, we can all agree, are much, much cooler.