by JILLIAN SORCAN
Keeping Duluth's environment clean became a hot topic at Monday's City Council meeting when the issue of road salt run-off into local waterways was brought forth by a concerned citizen.
The topic of road salt came up when Councilor Kerry Gauthier addressed the issue of road salt costs, stating that the total cost of buying road salt from Morton International, Inc. for Duluth this winter would come to $772,808.85.
After Gauthier's statement, Linda Ross Sellner, a Duluth citizen, stepped up to the podium with two points to address: money and the environment.
Sellner first pointed out that the amount of money the City of Duluth sets aside for something like road salt is quite a lot, considering there are cheaper alternative methods to de-ice roads with, like brine water. She also mentioned that it would greatly help the city cut back on salt use if they made sure to plow roads first, rather than just throwing salt everywhere.
The second point Sellner brought to the attention of the City Council and the public was that runoff from melting snow with road salt mixed in it is terrible for local waterways. "We are on the greatest of great lakes," Sellner said, and pointed out that there are nearly 43 streams around Duluth that trout inhabit, where they are greatly affected by road salt runoff.
According to Sellner, one tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water is all that trout can handle before the salt level reaches a lethal amount. Concerned about the local trout population, she brought forward a few suggestions, such as taking time to research alternative methods of de-icing and learning more about salt's affect on the environment.
Sellner's statements became of interest to the City Council, with Councilor Jay Fosle mentioning that when snow melts, it ruins pipes around town because of the salt that's mixed in. The City Council also expressed concern for the environment and made it a point that they were willing to research alternative methods of de-icing for future winters.