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Winter 2014 – Salt in Watersheds

November 30, 2013

Road salts known under various chemical compounds
(sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride,
magnesium chloride, and ferrocyanide salts) are toxic.
In the USA deicing salt is considered a pollutant via
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).

Chloride concentrations (salinity) in lakes across the USA
have steadily increased over the past 50 years, compared
a near zero concentration in the 1950s,
when road salt application began upon the nations roadways.

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Road salts used on surfaces

Road salts used on surfaces

Chloride concentration (as low as 250 mg/L) or approximately
the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water
have been shown to be harmful to aquatic life.
It creates a decrease in the biodiversity found among wetland areas,
altering the development of wood frogs,
decreasing the number and types of fish available,
and increasing mortality rates of aquatic organisms.
Increases in sodium and chloride have also been shown to
increase mobilization of heavy metals in the soil.

Judicious use of road salt via increased training
of snow plow drivers results in effective road salt application.
Applying sodium chloride to pavement temperatures
below 15 degrees Fahrenheit is generally not effective.
At higher temperatures only 1 to 3 cups of salt per 1000 square feet
has proven effective and worthwhile to people and environment.

People need to SLOW DOWN in the winter and plan for increased
travel times – instead of just blasting around at high speeds.
Road salt destroys roads, shortens the lives of cars,
and it does harm our watersheds.

Of course the official word would be to plod along the status quo.
That’s really sad and unfortunate in our Great Lakes State.
Using salt on a road doesn’t guarantee an ice-free surface and
it pollutes the environment with it’s components.

~~~~~~~~~ click with mouse to view pic ~~~~~~~~~~

DEQ and road salt

DEQ and road salt

Pour some Road Salt into the fresh water fish tank
at your local pet store and show them the DEQ response.
Please record the owners response on a Go Pro cam
and send me a link in the comments section of this article.

How much salt do YOU think enters the waterways ?

Belle Isle intake

Belle Isle intake

Nearly 5 Million people live around Metro-Detroit, Michigan
and another 5 Million people live around Windsor, Ontario.
10 MILLION people concentrated near Fresh Water Lakes;
just in our little section of the geography…pass the salt ?

~~~~~~~~~ click with mouse to view pic ~~~~~~~~~~

Detroit Windsor population

Detroit Windsor population density

Winter stormwater is loaded with salt, and so is the
Clinton River, flowing into Lake St. Clair .

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  1. Stay off the Ice | Red Run

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