Eau Claire (WQOW) - On the first official day of spring, the City of Eau Claire worked on sweeping away the salt and sand from winter storms.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said salt comes with a financial and environment price tag. The DNR said salt use can lead to chloride damaging water systems. High salt amounts in the water can harm fish by drawing moisture from their bodies, affecting electrolyte balances, reproductive failure and more, according to the DNR. Plus, the DNR said salt can make roadsides a harsh place for plants to grow.
"Anytime we can get out there sooner and get the salt swept up and the sand, it keeps it from getting into the storm sewer system and into the lakes and rivers," Steve Thomson, city street maintenance manager, said.
Thompson said his crews are constantly monitoring the use of salt and salt brine to keep it from contaminating waterways. He said the city uses salt on less than 90 of Eau Claire's nearly 400 miles of streets. The street maintenance department said it instructs drivers on how much salt to use, and they calibrate city trucks multiple times each winter to make sure they are not over salting.