By ANN SCHMITZ
DULUTH, Minn. - A local woman unsuccessfully pleaded with the City Council on Monday night to lower salt use to save the roads and environment, with the councilors unanimously approving this winters' salt contract with Morton International.
"When snow melts the salt residue empties into our 34 trout streams but the problem is there are no trout still living," said Linda Sellner. "U of M research tells us."
Sellner said the ice that coats roads during the winter months is treated with pounds of salt as an immediate solution for drivers. "One teaspoonful per cup of water is the maximum limit the environment can take in and actually break down," Sellner said.
Last winter Duluth used $750,000 on road salt so it's not just an environmental burden but a financial one, Sellner said.
The City Council asked Sellner for suggestions for more efficient ways for snow removal for when northern Minnesota turns into the North Pole. "We can't be using road salt when the temperature is 15 degrees or higher and need to be conducting more research on eco-friendly ways to remove snow and ice," Sellner said.
David Montgomery, Duluth's chief administrative officer, said the communication lines are open between road crews, the county and city council to ensure future improvements.
"We are continuing mechanical distribution of sand-salt mixtures and other salt substitutes that would be ideal for this issue," Montgomery said.