a great place to live

Roads and Winter salt

WINTER ROAD CONDITION, FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q.           Why is the village using less salt on the roads this winter, compared with past years?

A:            This is a complex and long answer that will be addressed in the following FAQ

The village for many years has had a snow and icy roads protocol that does not include a bare pavement policy on all streets.  In recent years the village boards have favored a bare pavement approach to snow removal.  The conditions of the roads this year are more in line with adopted policies.

In August of 2013 the Village of Paddock Lake Waste Water Utility District (sewer plant) was served with a new five year pollution elimination permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  The new permit (2014-2019) requires that the village waste water treatment plant reduce the amount of phosphorous, chlorides (salt) and lower the temperature of its treated waste water that is discharged to the Brighton Creek.

The past five year permits required that the effluent water have no more than 720 mg/l of chloride, while the new permit has an effluent limit of no more than 612 mg/l (milligram per liter).

For the most part the village meets the reduced limits of chloride in the waste water effluent, with the exception of February, March, April and May when the village often violates the effluent chloride limits.

The reason the village violates the terms of the pollution elimination permit in the spring months is due to the run off of the road de-icing salts.  These salts make their way into the ground water and enter cracks and joints in the village sanitary sewer system.

Q:           How does the use of road salt have an effect on the sanitary sewer plant? A:            Road salt or calcium chlorides in the past have been placed on the village roads at a rate of 7 tons of salt per lane mile of road per year or season.  Road salt is washed off the village roads by spring rains, the water soluble chloride leaches into the groundwater and because older sewer systems have joints and cracks in the pipes the ground water seeps into the sanitary sewer system and drains to the sewer plant where the sewer plant is currently unable to treat or remove the chloride from the waste stream.

Q:           What does the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources do to the village if it violates the pre-set chloride limits?

A:            In the past when the village has violated the pre-set limits, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency have ordered the village to increase its efforts on reducing the use of road salts and water softener salts.  However; under the newest pollution elimination permit, the village believes that if the sanitary sewer plant violates the preset chloride limits. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency will force the village to construct yet another waste water treatment device to separate the chloride from the effluent waters that leaves the treatment plant.

Q:           What would the costs be to construct a filter at the Waste Water Treatment Plant?

A:            Based on the size of our treatment plant, it is estimated that the cost to construct a micro filter would be between $2.2 million and $3.6 million dollars with annual operating costs of $105,000 to $170,000 per year.

Q:           How much more would a home owner pay to construct the filter and operate the system and filter? A:            The village estimates that the debt payments and operational costs would be between $44.31 and $68.97 per household per quarter, which would bring the quarterly sewer bill to $254.73 to $279.39.

Q:           How much has the village reduced the use of road salt?

A:            The village is committed to reducing its seasonal road salt use by 30% or more.  This has been accomplished by reducing the application rate of salt during snow events.

Q:           What other steps has the village taken to reduce the amount of chlorides reaching the environment and sewer treatment plant?

A:            The village public works department has implemented best management practices at the public works yards where the bulk road salt is stored, by storing bulk road salt in a building.

Q:           Sometime it seems especially icy following a storm, does the village treat icy roads?

A:            The village streets department uses a Board of Trustees adopted snow removal/Ice control policy which provides for snow removal activities and establishes priorities for how this is accomplished.  The village board has not established a “bare pavement” or “ice free” requirement.  Recently, use of chemical and/or sand applications has been reduced due to environmental and budgetary implication especially on streets where traffic volumes and speeds are low.  Thus, treatment of slippery areas chemical/sand is limited to high traffic thoroughfares, hills, curves and known hazardous intersections.

Q:           Why are some streets plowed and salted while my street is not?

A:            Primary collector streets or emergency routes are maintained using the bare pavement approach.  These collector streets are roads that connect to state highway 50 or county highway K.  For the most part village residents are only 1 to 2 blocks away from collector streets.

Q:           What are the Village costs to remove snow and ice?

A:            It generally costs the Village about $1,600 per inch of snow removed and $1,400 for treatment of ice from freezing rain events.  The average cost per year (2009-2012) to remove snow and treat roadways is $48,000, this includes amortize of equipment, purchase of salt, fuel, repairs and labor.  This year however is turning out to be a traditional Wisconsin winter the type and duration we have not experienced since the mid 1970’s.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Water softener, chloride reduction FAQ – http://paddocklake.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/water-softeners.docx

Village snow and ice removal policy – http://paddocklake.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Snow-and-ice-removal-policy-12.14.10.pdf

Wisconsin Pollution Elimination Permit – http://paddocklake.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pollution-elimination-Draft-Permit-2013v2.pdf