September 10, 2022 at 10:14 p.m.

Debate on calcium chloride

To the Editor:

   The information presented by Gordy Reher, Road Liasion, for Woodrow Township in response to my “Calcium Chloride” is absolutely false.

   The information I presented in my letter of August 23, 2022, was prepared by the State of Minnesota Department of Transportation. In 2013 the state tested a number of dust suppressants on 41 different sites, located all over the state. The state found that two products were qualified to be used on Minnesota’s gravel roads. Those products were “Magnesium Chloride and Calcium Chloride”. These two products were proven to be safe and effective for use on gravel roads. They chose Calcium Chloride for financial reasons. Calcium Chloride has been identified as a “non-hazard”. In other words, it is a “non-pollutant” and is not harmful to the environment at all.  Calcium chloride is used as an additive in dill pickle processing and other food products. It is being used successfully all over the this state and country wide.

   Again, I must point out that Calcium Chloride is “not” road salt or softener salt.

   The project results stated that if Woodrow Township used Calcium Chloride as a dust suppressant, it would reduce plowing by an estimated 50% and the need for “re-graveling by up to 70% savings that also help justify the product and properly direct township resident’s tax dollars to their appropriate use. Add to that the improvement to the health, safety and quality of life of Woodrow Township’s residents. 

   There is no upside for road dust. There are several upsides for dust suppressant.

   Gordy Reher said, “I have emails and comments from people in Woodrow Township”. Folks are questioning the nutritional value of “road salt”.

   I repeat, Calcium Chloride is not road salt or softener salt. It is a nutrient.

   Gordy Reher said that, and I quote “a person who is a plumber, stated that he is part of a coalition of groups that is conducting water testing clinics in MN and those groups have seen the impact of and I quote “road salt and softener salt and the biology of aquatic systems. This person tells people that we need to move away from both road salt and softener salt ASAP. It should be obvious to everyone that salt is a cumulative contaminant problem, as once put into the environment, it doesn’t go away. There are state agencies working on reducing salt use and holding clinics. There is a huge effect on cars, rust and corrosion specifically of rusting of brake lines and corrosion of aluminum wheels and trim as examples. What follows are just a few comments from the last week. It seems that our township residents have a different perception than that of “Mr. Melby” closed quote.

   All of the above comments and assertions by individuals and a plumber are of no value regarding the debate on Calcium Chloride and should not be part of any discussion or debate regarding Calcium Chloride. They are addressing road salt and softener salt. They are totally different substances. I agree that these salts are harmful to the environment and automobiles.  Calcium Chloride is not either of these of substances. He does not address or understand Calcium Chloride at all. 

   If our tax dollars are not being used for dust suppressant, what are they being used for? If dust suppressant hasn’t been used or the Township Council has no intention of spending those dollars on dust suppressant, that money should be returned to Woodrow Township residents.

   Gordy Reher is responsible for gravel roads within Woodrow Township. He should be fully aware and informed of “dust suppressants” so he and the rest of the Woodrow Township team can make informed decisions rather than rely on rumor, inuendo, hearsay.

   I recommend that Mr. Reher contact the manager of Cass County gravel roads and discuss why Cass County uses Calcium Chloride on their roads. I would suggest he contact the Minnesota State Highway Department of Transportation Research or the Minnesota Rural Research Board and discuss this issue and   information available to him

   I am hoping that the members of our Woodrow Township Council consider the safety, health and wellbeing of we, the residents of Woodrow Township as a high priority, when making important recommendations and decisions that affect all of the residents of Woodrow Township.

Jack Melby, 

Woodrow Township


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