Jan 31

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Salty Roads, Salty Rivers

We’re getting a bit salty in this episode… listen up!

Salt helps keeps roads safe… but at a cost (via Michael Pereckas, Wikimedia Commons).

Salt helps keep winter roads safe. But when snow melts, the salt runs off pavement and can end up in waterways.

John Jackson is with the Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania. In the lab, he’s studied the toxicity of salt on mayflies – a species that’s very sensitive to the environment.

John says as water gets saltier, “We see their development times increasing, their growth rates decreasing, and then very soon after that, we also see mortality.”

He says some streams are approaching these concerning levels of salinity. So many highway departments are exploring how to reduce their use without compromising safety. You can help by not over-applying salt on sidewalks and driveways.

Get Schooled:

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Are there less harmful substitutes to put on roads than rock salt? Hear John Jackson discuss:

Watch more:

Learn more about how waterways are monitored and ways you can make a difference (via the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency):

The fine print:




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