As Connecticut digs out of a shortage of road salt this winter, new questions are being raised about what the chemicals in the salt do to the environment and vehicles. And, following mounting complaints from constituents, state lawmakers are getting involved.
The General Assembly’s Transportation Committee has introduced a bill aimed at requiring James Redeker, Commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, to study the corrosive effects of chemical road treatments. The DOT ceased using a rust inhibitor in its road salt in 2007
“There has been a lot of rusting going on with people’s brake lines, with the undercarriages, with their mufflers, which is a great safety concern,” said State Representative Pamela Z. Sawyer (R-Bolton), the Deputy House Republican Leader -At-Large.
A spokesman for the DOT declined Fox Connecticut’s request for an on camera interview, but did say, in a phone interview, one of the reasons the inhibitor was ditched, aside from the fact that it did not prevent rust on its own vehicles, was complaints from waste water treatment plants concerning low levels of oxygen in waterways adjacent to their facilities. Oxygen is essential for productive aquatic life.
John Kriedel, of Windsor Locks, is one of many citizens who have reached Sawyer. He says he is meticulous in his care for his twelve year old Chevrolet S10 truck. But, rust has taken over to the point he is going to need a new vehicle.
“I have a brochure showing me the new S10,” said Kriedel, who plans on attending and speaking at a public hearing scheduled for February 28 at the Legislative Office Building.
“Do I really want one if we’re gonna have this kind of issue until the state does something about it,” wondered Kriedel.
The DOT says they save the state roughly $200,000 annually by not including the inhibitor in their salt priority