Oak Creek may spray magnesium chloride

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— Dust from unpaved streets in Oak Creek is blowing over Main Street like a sandstorm.

"It's pretty bad," Oak Creek Trustee Bill Paxton said. "It's the worst I've seen in the last two years. You want to keep your windows open but every time someone drives down the street, it blows dust into the house."

The dust has prompted a number of calls to the Public Works Department, and Public Works Director Jim Photos now says it is time to do something about it.

Photos said at the June 26 Town Board meeting he would need $6,400 to pay for magnesium chloride, a chemical that attracts moisture to help control the dust.

Town Board members agreed something needed to be done and gave Photos the consent to spray, until an audience member mentioned that the issue should be considered as a formal agenda item at an official meeting.

The only problem, Photos said, is the streets need to be treated now, not two weeks later, after the next Town Board meeting. It was clear the entire board wanted Photos to spray immediately, so it agreed to hold a special public meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss spraying the dirt streets.

Magnesium chloride is an environmentally friendly dust control and soil stabilization product, according to the Boulder County Transportation Service, which treats streets periodically with the chemical.

Although concerns have been raised regarding the effect of magnesium chloride on vegetation, no conclusive evidence supports those claims.

Magnesium chloride is a great intermediate solution to reducing dust on low volume roads, Boulder Transportation officials say.

Photos said the chemical would also help keep the streets smooth and flat, and reduce the need for grating.

The Town Board will also discuss purchasing a new dump truck for Public Works Department because the engine in the current truck will not run. Photos said the department is in immediate need of a truck, and he wants to make sure the one the town purchases will last.

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