Water is a precious resource that all life depends upon. We pollute it at our own risk.The selectmen should move forward with resolve on their talk of reducing the use of road salt in the winter.The town discussion began a year ago, after the selectmen listened to well-driller Henry Boyd.\u201cEvery town truck is a killer,\u201d Boyd said.Salt put on roads in winter by the town ends up in groundwater, threatening the quality of the well water that many of Ridgefield\u2019s single-family homes rely on.\u201cThere is no natural purification for salt, when all that salt is in the ground,\u201d Boyd said. \u201cEverybody here has a well.\u201dFirst Selectman Rudy Marconi agreed it\u2019s a problem.\u201cYou look at the amount of salt that\u2019s on state roads and local roads, that is being fed into our aquifers,\u201d Marconi said. \u201cOur aquifers are the filtration beds for all of our drainage. What we are doing is inevitably going to have a negative impact on the quality.\u201dThe selectmen were talking again about road salt in the water table at their last meeting, June 19.\u201cThe issue of salt and the amount of salt we\u2019re using is of interest to everyone,\u201d Marconi said.There seemed to be broad agreement that Ridgefield, like many other towns, habitually puts too much salt on the roads in the winter.The selectmen also agreed the practice will be difficult to stop because the driving public has come to expect what Marconi describes as \u201cblack roads\u201d even when the landscape is white with ice and snow.One problem is that there is no good substitute.\u201cState highways, they use magnesium chloride in addition to all the salt,\u201d Marconi said. \u201c... All aquatic life in the wetlands has been wiped out.\u201dThe obvious alternative is to go back to putting sand on icy roads.There will be unhappiness with this change.Using salt rather than sand on roads promotes melting. Regular salt lowers the freezing point from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to about 24 or 26 degrees, according to Marconi, and the salt product the town has been using in recent years \u2014 with a molasses-based additive \u2014 lowers the freezing point to about 17 degrees.Using road salt means fewer truck runs are needed when the road are icy. The town also saves money using straight salt because there\u2019s no longer a need to clean up the sand in the spring.Michael Dietz, the director of the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources, told The Press last year that road salt is a real problem.\u201cThere\u2019s over 400 sites across the state that had levels of chloride above the state drinking water standard,\u201d Dietz said.If well water is contaminated, homeowners can get \u201creverse osmosis\u201d filtration systems to clean their water, but the systems are expensive, Dietz said. And the groundwater remains polluted.\u201cCutting down on the application is the only way to address this problem,\u201d Dietz said of the salt. \u201cThere\u2019s no way to get it out of the water after.\u201dLadies and gentlemen, this is stupid. It\u2019s a classic case of the penny-wise, pound-foolish behavior that\u2019s so common in human beings \u2014 and, regrettably, almost seems to be standard operating procedure on pollution problems. Immediate costs outweigh long-term consequences: today\u2019s roads have less ice; tomorrow\u2019s well water is polluted.It may be difficult \u2014 perhaps impossible, in the short run \u2014 to find a good substitute product. Reducing the use of road salt may make more work for the highway department. Commuters will grumble, no doubt. There may even be a few more accidents.But we\u2019re systematically polluting our own water. That needs to stop.