In This City, Everything Ends Up in the Lakes

We don’t want to start a fuss over here at the CFL blog, but the unmistakable beeping of a big yellow machine hard at work drew our attention outside this afternoon. It turns out that we were, thankfully, getting some of our snowed-in parking spots cleared out.

A UW front loader helps clear the CFL parking lot but, unfortunately, adds what will be a dash of road salt and sediment to the Lake Mendota shoreline.
Photo: Denise Karns

Unfortunately, the end result was a big pile of dirty snow on the shoreline of Lake Mendota.
When the temperature warms back up and Lake Mendota sheds its icy winter coat, whatever is in that snow is headed right into the water. We’re guessing a dash of salt, a heap of sand and a splash or two of engine oil. There’s a saying that “dilution is the solution to pollution,” and in the case of this little pile of snow, that may be true. But every little thing adds up, especially when you surround your lakes with a sizable city plowing out countless parking lots.
It was good timing from our perspective, since we’ll soon put up a post about road salt in Lake Wingra and why it matters in terms of water quality and ecosystem health. So stay tuned to the CFL blog! And, remember folks, all storm water drains lead to the lakes around here.
This pile of parking lot slush is headed right into Lake Mendota during the spring thaw.
This pile of parking lot slush is headed right into Lake Mendota during the spring thaw. Photo: Adam Hinterthuer

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