Search is on for the road salt that's polluting Minnehaha Creek

  • Article by: Tom Meersman , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 6, 2013 - 7:08 AM

A salt-free diet may be impossible for the creek, but less chloride would make for a healthier habitat.

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paige7Mar. 6, 1310:12 AM

Maybe the dam shouldn't be closed all winter, and the creek allowed to wash out the pollutants throughout the season.... as it's natural state would do.

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philawkerMar. 6, 1310:38 AM

Why not use potassium? Maybe it's not the same stuff but it's highly recommended for water softeners if you drink the same water. What about using more sand than salt? Yes, that also contributes to pollution but less inpact. I used to use salt on my sloped driveway until it got in the ground and started eroding away part of my basement foundation wall, which was not cheap to fix. I switched to sand only and still get the same good results. One would think that sand can't be any harsher on roads and driveways than salt but you tell me. It's also easier to shovel snow off the driveway with the lightly sanded base below. In the spring, I sweep up the residual sand on the sides of the driveway to put in buckets to be used the following winter.

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jbhall56Mar. 7, 1311:41 AM

The problem with sand is that it fills the storm sewers, streams, water sheds and lakes with SAND because eventually it no longer is moved by the water flow and collects wherever that occurs. Potassium is a non-starter because it's just as bad as salt for water sheds, lakes and streams, but for different chemical reasons. There are a number chemical treatment systems available that would have a little less of an environmental impact, but I doubt anyone is willing to significantly bump their taxes to pay for these expensive solutions. As I recall, MNDOT has been researching this issue for years and would be the place to look for potential solutions that are cost effective and have less of an environmental impact.

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SpaceVikingMar. 7, 1312:54 PM

Sand also just blows off when it is cold and windy as I found out after the recent rain-then-freeze. I spread sand all over my driveway and by the time I finished it was all blown off from where I had started.

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widow124Mar. 7, 13 2:15 PM

“We’re not saying fish are more important than being able to drive safely,” I disagree with this statement. People should just be more careful, plain and simple. Then the fish and ecosystem wouldn't end up being the collateral damage from the convenience of human society.

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bluemocoMar. 8, 1310:39 AM

IMO, there is too much salt dumped on the roads as it is. I understand that the DOT and city snow removal crews are excited to do a good job of keeping the roads clear, but I see waaaay too much salt/chemical mix dumped on our streets. Reduce the chemical quantity, and spend the $$ saved on a few more hours of plowing. My $0.02...

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hobie2Mar. 9, 13 1:06 AM

"Why not use potassium?" Potassium is potassium chloride. It's the chloride that causes the problem. Any salt used to melt ice - sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride - has chloride ions.

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hobie2Mar. 9, 13 1:10 AM

If the stuff settles on the bottom, how about opening the dams first part of the spring when the dams are the fullest and the creeks lower and flush out the flowing waters with floods - it didn't harm the native species before we stopped the flooding, and it can stir up the bottoms and move some of the salts out. (in addition to running the salt from the streets into those holding ponds that are pumped down every few years)

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