by OLIVIA KING
DULUTH, Minn.-The City Council took into consideration, and will look for further solutions to a concerned Duluth woman's opinion about the abundant use of road salt and its effects on the local trout population at their meeting last night.
Linda Sellner, a current Duluth resident and researcher, brought up some of her concerns with resolution 546 which authorized a contract with the Morton International Inc., Morton Salt Division for the purchase and delivery of road salt for the 2010-2011 season at a total of $772,808.85.
Sellner said she was not only concerned with the quantity of road salt used, but also its effects on the environment and the possibility of saving money by using less.
Her main concern was the health of trout and other aquatic life in Lake Superior and the streams of Duluth. This concern is founded by University of Minnesota studies, which say that 70 percent of road salt runs off into the environment and the highest amount of salt in freshwater that trout can tolerate is one teaspoon of salt per every five grams of water. "Right now the salt level is two times what it should be," she said.
Once the topic was brought up, Sellner was not the only person concerned with this issue. Councilor Jim Stauber said he hoped the city was doing everything it could to look into the issue and try to develop a system to plow first and then only salt where necessary. Councilor Jay Fosle also stated a concern of his that when the snow melt into the storm drains it can easily rot the pipes.
The City Council stated that they were always open to suggestions on this topic, and hope to better resolve it. Some of Selmer's suggestions were to use brine water before big storms, and to not use road salt below 15 degrees Celsius because of its ineffectiveness.