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:11/30/2016)... WARSAW, Poland , Nov. 30, 2016 Not many of us realize ... crucial aspects of recovery so we need to do it well. Inadequate sleep levels ... problems, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. Maybe now is ... Christmas present that could help them to manage their sleep quality? ... ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nov. 29, 2016   Neurotechnology , ... object recognition technologies, today released FingerCell 3.0, ... recognition solutions that run on low-power, low-memory ... using less than 128KB of memory, enabling ... that have limited on-board resources, such as: ...
(Date:11/24/2016)... 2016 Cercacor today introduced Ember TM ... non-invasively measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, ... Rate in approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, ... access to key data about their bodies to help ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) and Allergan plc. ... a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency ... (bevacizumab). The companies believe this submission is the first ... "The submission of ABP 215 to the EMA is an ... said Sean E. Harper , M.D., executive vice president ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... Aerocom ... North American hospitals, will present its chain-of-custody solution for tracking and securing medications ... Vegas, Nev., Dec. 4-8, 2016. , Aerocom has a proven solution for tracking ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, ... ... (ETC), a consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies dedicated to collaboratively developing ... companies interested in supplying a vendor-supported, portable online UHPLC, with robust, probe-based ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... BEI Kimco, a brand ... a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by preventing unwanted shaft rotation. ... suited where extreme precision is required, such as in medical equipment, laboratory instrumentation, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: