N E W S R E L E A S E
November 4, 2011
Jim Foldesi, Public Works Director/Highway Engineer,
Richard H. Hansen Public Works Administration Bldg.
Duluth, MN 218-625-3840
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Freshwater Society Recognizes St. Louis County for Environmental Leadership
At its 10th Annual Road Salt Symposium held earlier this year, the Freshwater Society recognized St. Louis County for its outstanding work and innovative solutions to reduce the impacts of winter maintenance on our freshwater resources. Jim Foldesi, County Public Works Director, presented the group’s Environmental Leadership Award to the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting held on Tuesday, November 1st in Duluth.
Both salt and sand present environmental issues, and St. Louis County has been actively working on reducing impacts from salt and sand since the early 1990s. This began with the erecting of dome buildings and coverall type buildings at all facilities where salt and sand is stored. Some of these structures represent partnerships with other government entities such as the Net Lake Indian reservation, the cities of Hibbing and Ely, and the State of Minnesota. At this time 100% of all salt/sand material is kept covered.
St. Louis County started a calibration program two years ago by buying trucks with ground speed oriented controllers. This gives the ability to more accurately calibrate trucks and provides better control over material application rates. The county has almost completed a $250,000 initiative to retrofit 46 additional units from its fleet with ground speed controllers and pre-wetting equipment.
The award recognition on Tuesday was coupled with County Board approval of the purchase of additional Automated Vehicle Location/Global Position System equipment to complete the upgrade to the remainder of the Public Works plow trucks and graders providing road maintenance throughout the county. The County Board authorized the purchase of the AVL/GPS equipment from Precise Mobile Resource Management of Burnsville, Minnesota in the amount of $136,511.
Currently, St. Louis County uses approximately 19,265 tons of salt per year valued at about $1,200,000 and 67,440 cubic yards of sand per year valued at $202,000. The goal is to reduce salt/sand usage by as much as 45% by using calibrated equipment, ground speed controllers, and pre-wetting equipment. This will help the environment by keeping the 8,669 tons of salt out of the water, protecting about 7 billion gallons of freshwater and keeping 30,348 cubic yards of sand from entering rivers and streams. These reductions are projected to save up to $634,000 per year in this time of tight budgets.
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