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Ho-Chunk casino leads in reducing salt pollution

By Indian Country Today

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison takes up responsibility of reducing salt pollution in the four lakes area of Wisconsin

FEB 24, 2021

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison (HCGM) is maintaining their responsibility as a caretaker of TeeJop. This includes being mindful of reducing harmful pollutants entering the four lakes known as TeeJop, ancestral land of the Ho-Chunk people, located in Wisconsin. 

“We strive to be a leader in this community, encouraging others to do their part in preserving TeeJop,” Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Executive Manager Daniel Brown said.

Land and water conservation include keeping within the standards recognized for chronic chloride rock salt concentration. 

Salt use for snow removal impacts infrastructure (i.e., metal corrosion on bridges and roads), vegetation (i.e. salt burn and drying of stems, buds, leaves), aquatic vegetation and soils. All of these threatening TeeJop’s native plants and potentially being replaced with salt-tolerant invasive species. Fresh water in the TeeJop region must be kept alive and well.

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison's Mechanical Removal Equipment
Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison’s Mechanical Removal Equipment.Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

Winter maintenance entails lower salt use strategies. Snow removal practices must incorporate this strategy. https://87d06d6c44ad34828e46a4000ace43f2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The HCGM maintenance crew pre-treats with brine for anti-icing and utilize equipment focusing on a mechanical removal process. The City of Madison, Wisconsin offers a free Winter Salt Certification training through SaltWIse, an industry leader offering both individual and organizational level certifications. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison’s Business Development Manager, Jon Warner, collaborated with SaltWIse, Dane County and the City of Madison. The casino will be submitting for a facility SaltWIse certification in spring–which requires the entire maintenance department to have obtained the individual certifications from SaltWIse.

“We were quick to utilize the SaltWIse trainings offered by the city,” Warner said. “This helped us to enhance our knowledge of how much of an impact we are making on the lakes in and around TeeJop. Not only is this SaltWIse process beneficial to the environment, but it is extremely helpful to our bottom-line.”

By implementing the SaltWIse process, they have seen a 70 percent reduction in the consumption of salt. Instead, the casino is clearing areas using natural elements like the power of solar thermal dynamics, heating the ground up to melt the ice and snow. 

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison uses brine anti-ice trunks to reduce salt waste.
Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison uses brine anti-ice trunks to reduce salt waste.Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

“Under Jon’s leadership we are continuing with Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison’s eco-friendly, sustainable initiatives,” Brown said. “He garnered us accolades from Wisconsin Salt Wise and even the City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway for our efforts. 

The U. S. government established this level to be 230mg/L, which is lower than Wisconsin’s standard. It takes only one teaspoon of salt to pollute 5 gallons of water (230mg/L). 

To learn more about how to make a difference at reducing salt pollution and maintaining our ecosystem visit https://www.wisaltwise.com/Winter-Salt-Certification.

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