Road Salt – The Next Acid Rain?

While salt (sodium chloride) is great on an ear of corn, road salt is very bad for our Lake and River. You might think that since our lake ‘flushes’ itself every five months or so that it would not be a problem for us, but indeed it is. Most Adirondack Lakes have naturally occurring concentrations of sodium and chloride of 0.5 and 0.24 mg/L (milligrams per liter). Many times each year with professional help we test our lake’s water quality for many substances, including salt.  In 2014, our levels of sodium and chloride were 5.9 and 9.6 mg/L respectively.  (10 times and 40 times the natural levels).  The primary culprit here is road salt.  While the use of road salt in the winter months is inevitable to help keep motorists safe on the roads, it is also responsible for significant damage to trees and plant life along the roads.  And this practice is now being recognized as a significant negative impact on water quality.

Watch for the fall issue of the Pearl for more information about its dangers and alternatives currently being tested, as well as updated test levels.

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