By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The city of Marshfield began the process of slag sealing a number of streets during the week of Aug. 17 but has had issues with the product this year being more dusty than usual.
“We’ve had some problems with our slag seal process this year. This is not a new process. We’ve been using it for about a decade. However, this year the product is incredibly dusty,” Mayor Chris Meyer said.
Meyer said that slag sealing is “the process of coating the entire road with tar and then applying an aggregate, in this case boiler slag. Boiler slag is a byproduct of coal fired boilers.”
The process is intended to seal the cracks in the road and prevent water from freezing inside those cracks and deteriorating streets. Meyer said it can extend the life of streets by 10-15 years.
Meyer noted that the city has contacted the contractor performing the work to find out why the product is unusually dusty, and they believe this issue is with the source of the boiler slag that is used.
“We are watering the streets to mitigate dust. This will also be done over the weekend,” Meyer said. “Final cleanup is being completed by a contractor on Monday, Aug. 31. They expect to take one day, but it may extend into Tuesday morning as well.”
Meyer added, “We have asked the vendor for materials safety data sheets information on this product, and we did receive those. It indicates there is no short-term health risk to exposure, but we understand that people with breathing problems may be impacted by the dust, which is why we are spraying it. We are tracking complaints and working with the contractor to address each call. People can call the city garage at 715-486-2081 if they would like us to follow up with them.
“We are researching this issue to ensure it does not happen again. We do appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to remedy the problem.”