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Both cities use thousands of tons of salt each winter, along with sand and a specially-treated salt that is effective at lower temperatures. Coleman’s announcement that St. Paul will increase its salt applications from 400 pounds per lane mile to as much as 800 pounds alarmed Connie Fortin, a consultant who has worked with the city and other local jurisdictions to reduce the use of road salt as an environmental hazard.
St. Paul, she said, has made all the right moves — buying salt spreader controls, increasing use of a safer solution of rock salt treated with magnesium chloride, training drivers to apply salt in a targeted way. “We’ve got to encourage them not to go back to the old way where you just dump it on,” she said.
Coleman said that he shared her concerns, but that they must also be weighed against other factors.
“We have to balance environmental interests with public safety and the ability to get around town,” he said.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035