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“We’re sampling our 10 sites to build a picture of what’s happening in the whole system,” Granata said.
His meter showed that conductivity in the water was high, indicating that it probably contained fairly high concentrations of chloride that will be confirmed more precisely in lab results.
Asleson said that the Minnesota Department of Transportation, cities, counties and others in the winter road maintenance industry have been receptive to environmental concerns and are experimenting with ways to use less salt or different formulations of it without compromising road safety.
Christianson said homeowners also can help, especially at this time of year when warmer temperatures and longer days erase some of winter’s mark on the landscape and wash it into storm sewers, rivers and lakes. People should use salt sparingly, she said, and if they see it on dry sidewalks and driveways, they should sweep it up.
Urban waters are delicate to begin with, said Asleson, and lessening their salt intake will help keep them healthy.
“It doesn’t take a lot of pollution to have a bigger impact on these streams, because they’re already stressed,” she said.
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388