By Gary Doyle
Salt. Ask my family and friends: I use way too much of it! Veggies, broccoli pasta, broasted chicken from the Lantern – I salt all of it. It’s a vice.
But you know what I don’t salt? My water! That would be disgusting!
But actually, I don’t have to – because the Village of Lake Bluff does it for me.
Let me explain. You know all those salt trucks out doing their thing in the winter, tossing rock salt around like rice on the newlyweds at the slightest dusting of snow? Well, that salt has to go somewhere. And in our case, “somewhere” is straight into Lake Michigan, where it adds to the salinity of our drinking water.
And make no mistake, you are drinking salt. Our last water report showed a sodium level of 9.94 parts per million, a 33% increase from the last reading. Which I don’t know about you, is about 9.94 too many parts for me.
And the salt that doesn’t end up in Lake Michigan? Well, that kills cars, plants, birds, and turns our Lake Bluff streets fifty shades of gray five months a year. It’s slowly killing my 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan, and I love that car.
How do I know we use too much salt in Lake Bluff? I mean, you can’t exactly quantify this kind of thing. But here’s what it says on our salt-use policy, right from our Village website:
The Village’s snow and ice control operations begin when the street accumulates more than one inch of snow, or as conditions demand.
I suppose it’s that “as conditions demand” part that gives them wiggle room, but there were at least three times this winter when there was no snow on the roads, and barely enough to keep the leaves in the yard from poking through it, temperature above 35 degrees, yet our battalion of snow machines was out there dumping mountains of sodium chloride on the roads like it’s Scott’s Miracle-Gro. I’ll bet you’ve seen them too.
Now don’t get me wrong; I care about making our roads safe. But only when they’re actually, you know, unsafe.
I wrote the Village about our salt-happy ways, and the answer I got back was essentially “we do what our neighboring villages do.” To which I thought, thank goodness they don’t spread Cool-Whip on their roads in Kenilworth. (Actually, that might be kind of fun.)
I know what you’re thinking: we’ve got bigger fish to fry around here. Our taxes are too high, we have an epidemic of car break-ins, and the Brewery just ran out of Pumpkin Spice Strawberry Pilsner. I get it!
But if you care about this stuff (and you should), please contact our Village President, Kathy O’Hara, at
[email protected]. Enough letters, and hopefully we’ll start to change our ways.
But if we don’t, well, I guess I need to look on the bright side: no need to add salt to the water for my broccoli pasta. It’s pre-salted already.
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