12/21/2008

Salty Streets! --- and the Sacrosanct Aquifer?

After all the screaming and bitching about the Sprague gravel pit and how it is going to destroy the Islands aquifer by leaching contaminants into it from just regular old dirt, cement residue, asphalt etc., I was truly amazed to see a huge pile of ROAD SALT stored in the State garage!! How the hell do you justify that, when it seems to be a problem for every other community in this State and others, where roads and highways travel close to their aquifers? 'Splain that to me. I'm very dense! All those people who have condemned the Pit operation for it's NOT VERY LIKELY pollution of the ground water, should be jumping out of their skins in outrage at this total disregard for something that is KNOWN to do damage to a water supply! Where's the outrage here! Could it be that their condemnation of the pit operation is just because of their perceived notion that their property is now worth less than when they bought it? When it was sitting right next to an already operative business? A little bit of selective denigration here if you ask me.

So back too the salt. Ever since there have been motor vehicles on BI, sand has always been the go to device to keep the roads somewhat less slippery and with pretty good effect over that time. I do believe that back in the late fifties,early sixties, salt was tried for a year or two and then was disregarded as a permanent solution for our roads. Somebody back then was pretty smart for whatever reasons.

So come on Town Council, What is the reason behind the use of salt now when sand works nearly as well, and actually, perfectly for this less traveled community? Especially since the advent of the dive in the economy. Shouldn't we be saving as many dollars as possible to spend on really important things like fences and lights for the airport? TIFN

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't think salt was harmful to water, after all it is used in water filter systems all the time. Why are you always jumping on the town council, maybe the road dept got the salt or the state sent it over, it comes out of their budget. You want the council to micro manage every dept in the town ? Use your head.

Anonymous said...

Definetly should be looked into before being used...could have used it on the firebarn ramp the other night though seeing as it wasn't plowed!!! Who screwed the pooch on that one?

Anonymous said...

I googled the effect of road salt on ground water ,and found very little in the way of negative effects. Where do you get your info?

Sam said...

If properly put in a salt barn where no rain can get at it, salt isn't such a bad thing aside from rusting your vehicles and killing some grass. We're talking rock salt here. Some public works departments mix sand and salt together to make it go further.

Salt is up to a whopping $150 a ton now and many municipalities don't like using it except on bridges and hills. Sand is better for packed snow for traction, and is much cheaper by far; it just can't melt ice.

Everett's point was that for years, relatively cheap sand from the pit was used and people liked it. Second, any reactive chemical such as salt is dangerous to some degree - and that includes the Culligan Man water treatment systems too, a different kind of salt.

Block Island is rather unique in that water tends to migrate through the sands and clays, and that Block Island is blessed with fresh water. I'd want to be cautious and not spread around several hundred tons of the stuff.

Everett said...

Uhh Anonymous, who else should I bitch at besides the town council/manager who currently oversees every move any one makes? Mike Shea? Probably got his marching orders from the council. If there was a separate DPU, I'd probablly be asking him/her why they are now using it!
Micro-manage? Already being done so I'm told.

Where did I get my info? not out of my ass. Mostly from news stories in the paper, not the BIT, and on the tube. I can't believe you are so isolated that you have NEVER heard of any of these outcries from other concerned folks

By the way, I never said that salt was harmful to the WATER. It is when it comes time to turn on the tap for a glass to drink or cook your food in, that you also might become a LEEETLE bit concerned if it tasted a bit out of whack! I can only hope.

Thanks Sam, I guess you and I might have been listening to the same radio and tv programs!

But I guess the whole point of the post was, if sand, dirt, cement,asphalt, all located in one small confined area was going to pollute the aquifer, I was wondering why salt in a goodly amount, is being spread ALL OVER THE ISLAND with a many hundredfold chance of doing some leaching into the water system? Got an answer?

WV= rantsi isn't that what I'm doing?

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for all these outcries, can't seem to find them . Maybe you could be more specfic.

Sam said...

I dunno, I just Googled up about three dozen studies and abstracts about road salt and water quality, and none of them had anything good to say. Contrary to popular belief, most road salt does not runoff in creeks into larger lakes, oceans, or rivers where it can be diluted. The sense I get is that 50 to 70 percent of the road salt (sodium chloride) settles into the ground and the groundwater.

All these studies done in the mid-1990s until now contradict the earlier wisdom which said that road salt was relatively benign and safe, except for some obvious effects on vehicle rust, concrete cracking, and burned roadside vegetation.

Due to road salting and other concerns, the EPA put a cap of 250 mg per liter on sodium chloride, due to health effects. About 230 is the level where many freshwater aquatic animals and plants are affected. High sodium is also a leading cause of hypertension in humans.

The only downside to using sand instead of salt is that is can increase sedimentation in water bodies, or when stirred by passing vehicles can create dust when dry, mainly mechanical issues and not from a reactive chemical.

Other alternatives include calcium chloride and CMA, which are effective and may have less harmful environmental effects, are several times the price of road salt - CMA can be 15 times the coat of regular road salt, or halite.

Interestingly, most citizens don't seem to mind one way or the other, and seemed to like sand instead of salt just fine. The people who liked the salt the most were the police who had to drive in all that weather.

Now from what I know about Block Island, the drinking water quality is an issue because of the prevalence of sodium, nitrogen, and phosphorous salts! Didn't they close down the old town reservoir and try to blame it on the bird shit? Hah! -sam

Everett said...

Thanks AGAIN Sam for doing my leg work for me. Since I opened my big mouth about the salt, I have been trying to get all the food, main course, bread desserts etc. together and ready to cook for tomorrow. 19- 21 folks coming if all show. Haven't had time to fart much less sit here for an hour or two googling!
BTW, you and yours ARE invited! Merry Xmas again also. Ain't this bloggin' fun? Best Regards Ev.

Old NFO said...

OH but Ev, it's APPROVED pollution, that's the difference :-0 sigh...

Sam said...

Hah! The average human being "passes" about one liter of mainly methane every day. Using my calculations about molecular weight and 200 million Americans, that's about 200 tons of farts a day, or 73,000 tons a year!

Methane is over 30 times more reactive than carbon dioxide as for Global Warming, and I suspect that Everett single handedly took out the Arctic sea ice all by himself. Hey at least its cooler down here this winter, right? LOL
-sammie

Sam said...

Hey, youse all having a great New Years Day? We jumped in the water and are going to have a bonfire tonight courtesy of Pyro Sam and his truck. Hope all is well, miss Lock Island even on a Flag day when the ferry won't run. Hope you're road by the beach is doing OK and that 2009 picks up some business for everyone.

One more question for ya - is Fagan still lurking around the island? That man was a piece of work, huh?

Anonymous said...

Everett is not mad about the road salt, it's much deeper. He's upset with carpetbaggers comming to BI and messing with self-entitled " islanders".

Sam said...

Anonymous posting on Friday - I agree that the mainlanders have been using the islanders as a cash cow for years, and we get little in return!

Of course, I'm on a different island and would never consider myself a BI local.

Everett said...

Hey Anonymouse, Aren't you quite the little shrink! Amazing that you think you can read my doleful thoughts and pontificate on what you think they mean! It is NOT "much deeper", it is about a 1/4 inch of the stuff on the roads that got me 'Upset'! It is NOT me being pissed at "carpetbaggers", your word not mine, in either thought or deed, COMMING and messing with my self entitlement. What self entitlement? No one ever 'gave' me anything, nor imbued me with self righteous indignation and fury toward anyone who has taken anything from me. Which they haven't. I've earned every damned thing I have through 12-14 hour days for the last 35 years! Can you say the same or are you one of the loud mouths who has been "endowed" with a pocket ful of money from mommy and daddy? You sure sound like it. Oops, there I go, trying to be just like you. So until you really know what you are talking about, why don't you go over to Code Pink.com or Moveon.org or one of those types of sites and commune with your peers there and leave we dolts alone? Bye now, have a great new year in oh, someplace like Mozambique, Afghanistan, or maybe Robert Mugabee's favorite little enlcave!

Anonymous said...

You are pissed at people screwing with Joe over the gravel pit.

Sam said...

Look out, somebody's trying to bring back the old Dodge and Littlefield feud, worse than the Hatfields and McCoys. Let me know when to turn the popcorn maker on!

Hey folks, buy out that old quarry if you think you want to stop it. Make an offer that can't be refused. Shut 'er down and turn it into conservation land or mixed use or something. Everyone has a price!

Heck man, I bet Robert Downie could show some historical pictures when that area was quarried in the late 1800s. From what I can tell, Block Island had three abandoned dumps and as many quarry areas, though I am no expert. One of each lasted until this day. Maybe tomorrow Saturday I can fire up some serious popcorn.

Everett said...

Yeah! You Bet! And just as soon as they get through with him it will be Bob Roses Pit on which they are already working. Then it will be the gas station cause it is in the middle of town. The airport has to go cause all those low flying airplanes are going to kill someone and the noise is horrific! That nasty assed power plant should be shut down cause it is polluting the atmosphere, the ground and assualting my ears and sensibilities to no end! Stop all those damned cars trucks, mopeds and even bicycles from traveling the roads cause they cause all sorts of problems like those mentioned above!

Yes we should all sit in our little hovels like a bunch of trolls under a bridge and just let time and nature pass us by uninterrupted and unhindered by the fact that we all need to have some way to feed and house ourselves without some self righteous, monied, ENTITLED?,( by virtue of their money),pontificating ass from,NY, NJ, MA, CT, etc. telling us what is right and just in their views!

Sam said...

I keep going back to the history and how Block Islanders used to survive. There used to be a lot of wood on BI but it was cut down for houses, boats, firewood, and to clear farming land. Although looking more shaggy now with low brush and shrubbery, the fact is that the original settlers simply had to survive incredible odds back then.

And then they had peat bogs. When there was a drought the men would carve out chunks of peat from the swampy low areas and use them as a form of heating, once dried, similar to what the old Irish did. Gosh, they excavated quite a bit of parts of BI from what I hear, many acres but in various spots.

The roads were always mucky, especially in the spring thaw, so the islanders found out they could take some clay sand, some crushed sea shells, and some small tone and make a fairly good road base. I will never forget Martha Ball saying that she remembered stories about the first real steam roller, which in fact was powered by steam!

I guess as Everett says that road base probably came from the Old Man Rose pit, whose family was known for being expert fishermen and farmers as well. Block Islanders were incredibly self-sufficient and didn't need no mainlanders telling them what to do.

The mainland folks always had other ideas, like trying to foist casinos on what was a very pious community who hated the idea, or to somehow tap Block Island's resources in some devious was. Gosh, some of the lawsuits were legendary, some of the first filed when the United States were formed and created a justice system. The Champlain's suit is just another in the saga of very famous disputes.

My message is the history. Back in the old days, sailboats would sail very top-heavy when light so they'd load up tons of those nice rocks people seem to love these days. When the fishermen caught hundreds of pounds of fish like cod, they'd throw those damn rocks over the side. That was in the day of the Block Island Double-Ender and some of the smaller schooners.

People who come out to BLock Island today have no appreciation for this, and except it to look like a spiffy quaint Nantucket or Malibu Californicator town with no pits, quarries, missing rocks, or cut down trees - and could give a damn about any farming land. They know everything, or so they think. Occasionally they even had the balls to build "condos," a concept completely foreign to the locals and interestingly, were a massive failure anyway.

Hey Everett, Lori the spouse is getting some of that good "Orville" popcorn at the local store similar to the BIG, along with some toilet paper because we're running out. Can't wait for the next cyber sniper!

I'm ready.

Everett said...

Hi Sam, You hit the nail right on the head! On all counts! It pisses me off that my family managed to survive out here for over 360 years without some piss ant johnny come lately having to tell us to pour the piss out of our boots! Hell when it runs over the top we are able to figure that out all by ourselves! No Help or unsolicited advice requested or wanted! Thanks agian bud for bringing a little clarity to it all, but it won't do any good. "There are none so blind as those who will not see"! Save me some of that Orville Redennecker!!

Anonymous said...

The fate of the pit is in the hands of the zoning board,not the history books. Joe would have been well served not to have lied to them and act stupid. He knew about the limitations on the pit when he bought it, he just chose to ignore them.

Sam said...

From my limited understanding, history has everything to do with that pit. If it was in continuous use since the latest land use ordinances, and was sold on the condition of use if the pit was continuously used, obviously there would be a problem is the pit was inactive for periods of time. Correct?

Everett said...

During the time that pit was "inactive", was before the big building boom here on BI and there were two other pits in very sporadic operation also. If only one shovel full of dirt, sand etc. was taken out of there in the last 100 years it is still a working pit as far as I'm concerned. Just because your attic or basement hardly ever gets used doesn't mean we should ban houses from having them does it? This whole thing is FUBAR, and the most vociferous complainers are the ones who didn't really get a handle on their "due diligence" efforts when looking to buy or build around that pit. All the bitching is way after the fact!!!

Anonymous said...

What you two are missing ,is the part of the Dolan agreement that limited expansion of the pits operation. Which Joe has admitted to and is very obvious. I do agree that hole in the ground was there long before most of the abutters. But Joe is his own worst enemy, he and his guys drve way to fast,use loud jake-brakes when it's completely unwarrented, the speed limit is 25 mph, his guys drive loaded dump trucks at 35 all the time,know wonder people are pissed off. God forbid somthing horrible happens cause Able drives like an asshole.

Everett said...

Well as usual something was left out of my education! I didn't know and still don't about a limitation on the expansion of the pit. Must have missed all that somehow.
And you are absolutely right about the speed of the trucks and the use of the jake brake. They come over the hill in front of Mary D's, hit that thing and let it go all the way to the corner. It without fail, scares the sh** out of me every time they use it!

Guess I'll let this dog die a natural death!

Everett said...

Well as usual something was left out of my education! I didn't know and still don't about a limitation on the expansion of the pit. Must have missed all that somehow.
And you are absolutely right about the speed of the trucks and the use of the jake brake. They come over the hill in front of Mary D's, hit that thing and let it go all the way to the corner. It without fail, scares the sh** out of me every time they use it!

Guess I'll let this dog die a natural death!

S. Sprague said...

Who the hell are you anonymous???? Some sort of a***ole because you can't identify yourself. You are ridiculous and clearly one of the supporters of the pit being shut down. Well karma is a bitch and you will get yours! Whoever you are, you will someday need something from a Sprague...good luck getting it. For all I know, you are some rambling moron that doesn't even live here. If its not gonna be a pit, its gonna be a hideous condo complex for the low income variety...ENJOY!

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