Navigation Links
Many urban streams harmful to aquatic life following winter pavement deicing
Date:9/1/2010

This USGS report is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology and is available as a free download online at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es101333u.

The use of salt to deice pavement can leave urban streams toxic to aquatic life, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study on the influence of winter runoff in northern U.S. cities, with a special focus on eastern Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

More than half of the Milwaukee streams included in this study had samples that were toxic during winter deicing. In eastern and southern Wisconsin, all streams studied had potentially toxic chloride concentrations during winter, with lingering effects into the summer at some streams. Nationally, samples from fifty-five percent of streams studied in 13 northern cities were potentially toxic; twenty-five percent of the streams had samples that exceeded acute water quality criteria.

Toxicity was measured by direct testing of organisms in samples during the local study component; in the regional and the national study components, observed chloride levels were used to assess potential toxicity.

"While winter driving and walking safety are the priority in treating pavements, this study suggests the need for advancements that will reduce salt loads to surface waters without compromising safety," said Matthew C. Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Water.

"We expected to see elevated chloride levels in streams near northern cities during the winter months," said Steve Corsi of the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center. "The surprise was the number of streams exceeding toxic levels and how high the concentrations were," said Corsi, who led the study.

"This study shows that chloride contamination of urban streams is a problem in many places; it's not just a Milwaukee problem," said Corsi.

While road deicing accounts for a significant portion of salt applications, it is not the only source. Salt is also used by many public and private organizations and individuals to deice parking lots, walkways and driveways.

Key Findings:

Nationally: During the winter, samples from fifty-five percent of northern streams in this study had chloride levels that exceeded USEPA chronic water-quality criteria, indicating potential toxicity. Samples from twenty-five percent of the streams exceeded acute water-quality criteria.

Regionally: In eastern and south-central Wisconsin, potential toxicity was found during winter at all urban streams studied, with lingering effects at some streams in the summer.

  • During winter, 100 percent of the streams monitored had chloride levels that exceeded the USEPA chronic water quality criteria with fifty-five percent of samples exceeding acute water quality criteria.

  • Chloride levels higher than 10,000 milligrams per liter were observed at times during winter deicing periodsmuch greater than the chronic water-quality criteria of 230 milligrams per liter and the acute criteria of 860 milligrams per liter.

  • Chloride levels increased as urbanization percentage in the watershed increased.

    Locally: In Milwaukee, more than half of the samples collected from streams during winter deicing periods were toxic.

  • Samples from seven of 13 streams collected during 2007 deicing periods were toxic in bioassay tests.

  • Chloride levels in 12 out of these 13 streams exceeded USEPA chronic water quality criteria; eight of 13 exceeded acute criteria.

  • In long-term testing of one Milwaukee stream between 1997 and 2008, seventy-two percent of 38 samples collected during the winter were toxic in bioassay tests.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kara Capelli
kcapelli@usgs.gov
571-230-6601
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: The bright red of cardinals means less in urban areas
2. Slowing urban sprawl, adding forests curb floods and help rivers
3. The real urban jungle
4. Analysis of atmosphere in Phoenix, Ariz., suggests new model for sound urban growth policies
5. Aquatic life declines at early stages of urban development
6. Even small patches of urban woods are valuable for migrating birds
7. Urban wildlife: Some birds crave cement, not trees
8. Common house ants form supercolonies, prosper in urban settings
9. To close achievement gap, US must address major health risks for urban minority youth, study finds
10. Genetic causes identified for disturbances in lipid metabolism
11. Carnegie Mellon customizing electric cars for cost-effective urban commuting
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/26/2017)...  Acuity Market Intelligence today released the 2017 ...  Acuity characterizes 2017 as a "breakout" year for ... a new understanding of the potential benefits these ... identity are often perceived as threats to privacy ... of Acuity Market intelligence. "However, taken together these ...
(Date:1/23/2017)...  The latest mobile market research from Acuity Market ... The quarterly average price of a biometric smartphone decreased ... 2016.  There are now 120 sub-$150 models on the ... just 28 a year ago at an average price ... Most , Acuity Market Intelligence Principal, "Biometric Smartphones are ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... -- In vitro diagnostic (IVD) companies were very active in ... Kalorama Information expects that trend to continue – though ... uncertainty in reimbursement and healthcare reform in ... acquisitions landscape. Instead of looking to buy technology, the ... of their home country and also to increase their ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... portfolio to include an array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. ... drive their hit-to-lead and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... SEATTLE , Feb. 23, 2017  Seattle,s upscale Capitol ... like a strange place for a head lice treatment salon ... nestled between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on ... it,s perfect. "We aren,t just any old lice clinic, we ... to feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... annual Inventors Recognition Reception at Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, ... in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017 Aviva ... tools, announced the acquisition of GenWay Biotech Incorporated, ... comprehensive service and product offering for both the ... will facilitate growth and enhance capabilities for both ... and ELISA assays will nicely complement ASB,s objective ...
Breaking Biology Technology: