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

nt 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.


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

Page: 1 2

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