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Aspen too salty

Dear Editor:It galls me to walk down our city streets and sidewalks to see the abusive amounts of salt that are being applied in the wintertime. The Hyman and Cooper Avenue malls are the worst, and the bricks are just crumbling from the corrosion.In a resort that prides itself on a conservation ethic and wise use of natural resources, we are polluting the very watersheds and adjacent flora that attract tourists. The problem of looking the other way in the winter, just because it appears safer is wrong. Plus, I would contend that a salted walkway with snow on it is much more slippery at temperatures from 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit than if you just did a better job of removing the snow in the first place.Please take a look at all the dead and dying trees along our state highways that are salted with mag chloride. Just think of all the trees that the city plants, and replants and replants, because they are being choked by excessive winter salts. Imagine being a native trout and trying to survive over the winter, when water flows are low, and then you combine it with increased and manmade concentrations of salts. Talk to any aquatic scientist and you’ll find that we are killing our western rivers by adding manmade salts into watersheds that already have naturally high alkaline levels. I would love to see a high-school project study the salt concentrations in the Roaring Fork upstream and downstream of town, and at the critical points of outflow from our storm sewers.Have you ever tried to get the mag chloride off your car at the car wash? It takes about 30 percent longer to get the job done. What a waste of valuable winter water, when water levels are naturally low. Then think of where that concentrated salt water goes – right into the Roaring Fork.Next time you walk into City Hall or any other office downtown, take a look at the salt “tracks” throughout the building. Imagine all the carpets and floors that have to be cleaned more than normally required, all the wasted water needed to clean these places, and all the corrosion caused to our shoes, carpets and wood or tile floors.Just as this city prides itself on cleaning up our PM-10 air quality by vacuuming up the dirt off its streets, let’s eliminate all the unnecessary salting of our winter sidewalks and streets in order to improve the quality of our watersheds.Craig WardAspen


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