PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking residents and businesses to be mindful of where they’re disposing of snow this winter.

“Snow collected from roads, parking lots, bridges, and sidewalks may contain harmful contaminants such as road salt, sand, pollutants, and litter that can compromise water supplies,” DEM officials said.

The DEM advises that snow be stored and disposed of only in upland areas away from wetlands, bodies of water, and water wells.

Officials also suggest locating snow collection sites with porous surfaces that will allow snowmelt to filter into the soil. The remaining dirt and debris should then be removed no later than springtime.

Snow collection sites, officials added, should include a “vegetative buffer” between the site and any adjacent water bodies to keep dirt and debris out of the water.

For more information, the DEM has an official Snow Disposal Policy on their website.