If you’ve ever had to clean bird poop from your car or your windows in the past, you’ll know that it’s pretty disgusting, and can sometimes be hard work to scrub away! Imagine then, the scale of the job that the City of Saskatoon workers had to do when they were asked to clear more than 619,430 kilograms of potentially deadly pigeon poop from the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge. Yikes!
Over the past couple of weeks, city workers have been scrubbing away underneath Saskatoon’s Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge, in an attempt to remove a 53-year-old build-up of bird poop. Since 2011, the province has been taking various measures to remove the decades-old feces and has spent the better part of $1 million trying to deal with the problem.
According to a report from CBC News, the city spent $800,000 on the clean-up project this summer, as well as a euthanization program to remove the birds from the bridge. Combined with the additional $100,000 that was spent on poop-removal in 2011, Saskatoon’s pooping pigeons have now cost the city approximately $900,000! Ouch!
Speaking in an update on their website, the city explained that the poop-removal was necessary to keep the bridge in a safe condition for the people using it. The bridge’s load capacity had reached its limit, and the ‘dead weight’ of the poop was putting the bridge at risk of failure. Literally, the poop had become too heavy for the bridge!
"It was critical to have the additional weight from the pigeon poop removed. Pigeon poop is acidic and known to damage concrete and corrode steel," the city explained.
The amount of poop that was removed from the bridge weighed about 619,430 kilograms, the city said, noting that this would be enough to fill about 356 mid-sized cars. The amount was so large because the bridge had never been regularly cleaned in the past, allowing the feces to build-up over decades and decades.
While some people were unhappy with the city’s decision to euthanize a number of pigeons, the city believes that it was the best course of action given the circumstances. They argued that moving the birds elsewhere would simply shift the problem to another infrastructure, or even nearby homes.
While it is not known how many of the 2,300 pigeons were killed over the summer, reports from CBC News suggest that all birds were killed quickly and painlessly, as requested by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.
Mesh barriers have since been installed around the bridge’s cavities to prevent future infestation and to stop any more pigeons making their home underneath the bridge.
The poop was removed by bagging, dry vacuuming or wet vacuuming, and then it was disposed of either at the landfill or waste water treatment plant as appropriate. A crappy job indeed!