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E-M:/ Salt in Saginaw Aquifer: Collapsed Canary in Coal Mine?



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Enviro-Mich message from joonmck <joonmck@gateway.net>
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Dear EMers, 
 
Automobile manufacturers (& their suppliers, salesforce & sycophants)
cost us dearly in "social costs" (those are the costs borne by citizens
to underwrite the greed of corporations like GM). In line with today's
attention on LUSTS, I bring you SALT (not the arms treaty, but the
canary). Remember that LUSTS are a $800 million state funded "social
cost" DEQ program under-written by you and I to clean up the mess of the
errant car culture in this state. 

In my still unpublished research from last Summer 2000, I had this to
say about SALT:

Many Major intersections in Ingham County Have Leached Salt into the
Groundwater! 
 
The road salt used to prevent accidents during these icy winters is
getting into our groundwater. Recent studies of chloride contamination
in the Saginaw Aquifer have revealed that about 20% of the Aquifer has
detectable chloride levels. About 10 areas, constituting only about 2
percent of the Aquifer, exceed the secondary standard for chloride which
is 250 PPM. The evidence is that there has been more chloride
penetration of the Aquifer than was apparent just 15 years ago.
 
This is of particular concern, according to Garry Rowe, a groundwater
specialist, because these chloride levels may be an indicator that other
substances, many unmeasurable, undetectable, or just un researched, may
be entering the Aquifer. There is chloride in the Aquifer naturally; but
much of the chloride is also a human byproduct. The contamination
results from roadsalt for de-icing street and highways in the winter.
Salt reaches the groundwater both from storage stockpiles and from
solutions that have been spread on roadways. The Ingham County Health
Department has a map of high chloride area in the County and one of the
highest areas sits near Dansville where there is s a salt storage
facility. 
 
And we do use a lot of salt. Over the past three years the Ingham County
Road Commission has applied about 16 to 18 tons per year on its 1200
miles of roads. The Road Commission is experimenting with a new product
called Ice-Band, which it adds to salt making it non-corrosive. But this
product is very expensive and has its own side effects.

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Again, I underscore that many of these issues are well known to
environmentalists, but ironically, may not be so well known by people
demanding a quick salting of the road on a snowy Monday morning. To what
can we attribute this lapse, I ask you?
 
In general, few people in the Lansing area are even aware of the true
disasters associated with our drinking and surface waters, because the
facts are often inconvenient.
 
How can people ever grow to full maturity if the real issues are
avoided?
 
In Solidarity,
 
Brian McKenna, Ph.D.
Environmentalist,
Anthropologist &
Public Citizen
 
"If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning
dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things?"
          -- Eric R. Wolf, Anthropologist (1923-1999)
 
"Insanity in individuals is rare, in nations, epochs
and eras it is the rule."
          -- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Philosopher (1844 - 1900)


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