Out by Picnic Point on the UW Campus, there's a mountain of dirty snow 3 stories high. The snow is trucked there from parking lots around the UW Campus, after major storms.
Salt can be very harmful to aquatic life. Salty water is more dense, so it sinks to the bottom and remains concentrated, where it can affect the balance and health of a lake.
Use of salt by the UW
In the winter of 2009-10, the University planned to use approximately 500 tons* of road salt. It's "not the same as table salt. It comes unpurified straight out of the salt mines and it contains heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic in trace minerals and then ferryocyanide, a carcinogen, is cut in to act as an anti-caking agent...." Source
According to a 1999 UW report, "...the University has made significant progress in some areas of salt reduction. Since 1995, "No Plow, No Salt" areas have been designated, removal equipment has been improved, Physical Plant’s sand mixture has been reformulated, and salt alternatives have been tried. In addition, a low berm was constructed between the 1918 Marsh and the snow storage area to prevent salt-contaminated runoff from entering the Marsh."
What I saw calls into question the accuracy of that report. If a berm was present, it was buried under the snow--totally inadequate for the amount of snow dumped this year.
A long history of dumping--former students report
In the late 1960s, the University Farms used to dump manure here from the nearby barn. The Ecology Student's Association caught the University Power Plant dumping many truckloads of fly ash here. The students found the University didn't have a permit from the DNR, so the UW was forced to stop.
Dumping of snow here has been going on for at least 20 years.
More photos here:
The face on Mt. Walker here.
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* A UW contract specified they might use as much as 750 tons.