: News

Filed Under:

Road Salt Concerns Some Environmental Experts

Play associated audio

By Kavitha Cardoza

Road salt is good news for drivers because it means less icy roads. But some environmental experts are concerned about the effects that salt will have on our waterways. Road salt is mainly sodium chloride.

"But it also contains some impurities such as trace metals, it can contain anti-caking agents such as sodium nitro ferro cyanide," says Dr. Sujay Kaushal.

Kaushal is with the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science. He says when the snow melts, these chemicals trickle into storm drains and eventually end up in streams. Such increased levels of salt can harm aquatic life and surrounding vegetation as well as corrode plumbing infrastructure. And Kaushal says it eventually affects our drinking water.

"In Baltimore, we've seen a four fold increase in the chloride concentration over a 20-year period and so if the salinization keeps continuing at this current rate, it could pose a problem in the future," he says.

Kaushal says removing salt from drinking water is an expensive and difficult process.

Since Friday, D.C. has used more than 11,000 tons of road salt, Virginia has used at least 27,000 tons and Maryland just characterizes the amount used as, "a lot".


Making Art Off The Grid: A Month-Long Residency At A Remote National Park

Filmmakers Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger recently wrapped up a month as artists-in-residence at Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West. No phone, TV, Internet or other people.

After A Long Day Of Fighting Climate Change, This Grain Is Ready For A Beer

Kernza is a kind of grassy wheat that traps more carbon in the soil than crops like wheat and rice. Now, a West Coast brewery is using the grain in its new beer called Long Root Ale.
WAMU 88.5

Why Millions Of American Men Have Left The Workforce, And How To Bring Them Back

Today’s unemployment rate is down sharply from the height of the Great Recession. But more than a fifth of American men had no paid employment last year, and seven million of them have stopped looking altogether. Why men are leaving the workforce – and how to bring them back.


Tesla Surprise: It's A Profit

The company posted a profit of nearly $22 million for the third quarter, the first quarterly profit since 2013. Tesla attributes the good results in part to new stores.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.