Navigation Links
U of Minnesota research finds most road salt is making it into the state's lakes and rivers
Date:2/10/2009

Research at the University of Minnesota has revealed that road salt used throughout the winter is making the state's lakes and rivers saltier, which could affect aquatic life and drinking water. The research indicates that better training of snow plow drivers and more judicious use of road salt could help lessen the impact and save the state money.

To watch a video with research team leader Heinz Stefan, go to http://www1.umn.edu/urelate/newsservice/Multimedia_Videos/road_salt.htm

The researchers studied 39 lakes, three major rivers, 10 tributaries and numerous observation wells, and the results are alarming. They found that approximately 70 percent of the road salt being applied in the metro area is retained in our watershed. The university researchers recently reported their findings to the Local Road Research Board. Nearly 350,000 tons of sodium chloride, commonly referred to as road salt, are applied for de-icing in the Twin Cities metro area every year.

"Nobody has asked the question of where the salt ultimately goes after the winter season is over," said research team leader Stefan, a civil engineering professor at the university's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. "Our study has been concerned with that question in particular."

Stefan's team (including Eric Novotny, Andrew Sander, Dan Murphy and Omid Mohseni) tracked the movement of chloride applied by humans throughout the water system, distinguishing it from geological or natural origins. They found that the chloride concentrations (salinity) in 39 metro area lakes have increased over the past 22 years, following a similar trend in road salt purchases by the state of Minnesota. Both show a marked increase from 1984 to 2005, which if continued would double salinity in these lakes in about 50 years. Compare this with a near zero concentration in the 1950s, when road salt application began.

The effects could be severe. Continuous levels of chloride concentration (as low as 250 mg/L, the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt in five gallons of water) have been shown to be harmful to aquatic life and to affect the taste of drinking water. In 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency listed five metro area streams as already impaired by chloride. Increases in sodium and chloride have been shown to decrease the biodiversity in wetland areas, altering the development of wood frogs, decreasing the number and types of fish available, and increasing mortality rates of organisms that rely on an aquatic system. Increases in sodium and chloride have also been shown to increase mobilization of heavy metals in the soil along major highways.

To help reduce the effects, researchers recommend more judicious use of road salt through increased training of snow plow drivers to get the most out of the road salt they apply. Applying sodium chloride to pavement temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit is generally not effective. At higher temperatures, researchers suggest using only one to three cups of salt per 1000 square feet. These recommendations are working at the University of Minnesota. Since training began two years ago, the university has reduced use of road salt by 41 percent and saved more than $50,000 in the first year.


'/>"/>

Contact: Patty Mattern
mattern@umn.edu
612-624-2801
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Small male chimps use politics, rather than aggression, to lead the pack, U of Minnesota study says
2. Hobbit fossils represent a new species, concludes University of Minnesota anthropologist
3. U of Minnesota researcher finds link between aggression, status and sex
4. Minnesota ecology professor wins international award for biodiversity and biofuels research
5. Action needed now for Minnesota to reach goals in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2015
6. New family of gecko discovered by researchers from the U of Minnesota and Villanova University
7. University of Minnesota to host worlds largest conference on evolution
8. U of Minnesota researchers discover key for converting waste to electricity
9. University of Minnesota releases first ever comprehensive report of the health of college students
10. University of Minnesota study refutes belief that black men have more aggressive prostate cancer
11. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. ... the server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across ... has already secured over 15 million users across the ... of connected home product suites and physical access represent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Vilnius, Lithuania, announced today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to ... provide CRISPR researchers with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Foundation President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO ... ASTER Labs ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced ... network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will ... to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education ... professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and are ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and ... rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of a transformation ... moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service offering ...
Breaking Biology Technology: