Regional
11:23 am
Wed December 29, 2004

Winter Thaw Causing Problems

Louisville, KY – The big thaw continues across Kentucky with Louisville work crews clearing storm drains that have been clogged by melting ice and snow.
In Paducah, Barkley Regional Airport manager Richard Roof says 3,900 tons of compacted snow had to be removed before the airport could reopen after last week's winter storm paralyzed western Kentucky.
With warmer temperatures beginning to melt last week's snow, water pouring into streams and rivers over the next few days will also carry tons of ice-melting salt and other contaminants.
It could be a difficult time for aquatic life, according to University of Louisville biology professor Jeff Jack, as well as for roadside trees and plant life.
Trying to keep roads safe, the Louisville metro public works department has spread 15,000 tons of salt since last week's snowstorm.
Environmental and Public Protection cabinet secretary LaJuana Wilcher says high concentrations of salt are not good for the environment. The flushing that officials expect to occur in the next few days, along with the melting snow, also sends other contaminants into waterways including oil and gas from cars and trucks, bits of rubber from tires and soot from exhaust