Feb 28

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Road Salt and Water

Salt keeps travelers safe, but it can harm
fish and plant life when it washes into waterways.

Image credit: Michael Pereckas

Transcript of the Audio Podcast:

Road salt and water quality … on this CurrentCast.

When old man winter comes to town, homeowners shovel and salt their driveways and sidewalks to keep surfaces from becoming slippery. Giant plows barrel down the highway, scattering road salt in an effort to keep drivers safe.

But when the snow and ice melt, the salt washes into lakes and streams. There, the chloride in salt acts as a pollutant – harming fish and plant life.

So to use less, some municipalities are mixing salt with other de-icing substances such as beet juice or sugarcane molasses. At home, you can reduce your use by shoveling more frequently and using sand to provide traction. If you do need salt, use it sparingly and sweep up what remains when the pavement is dry.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/stormwater-management/road-salt-and-water/