Road Salt Concerns Some Environmental Experts | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: 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".

WAMU 88.5

Smithsonian Prepares To Reach Across The Pond

The institution's Board of Regents has voted in favor of opening a 40,000-square-foot gallery in London.

NPR

Watch 'Bob's Burgers'? Now You Can Eat Them, Too

What happens when you try to make a burger out of a pun? One blog, two years, and dozens of recipes later, millions of fans can now cook up their very own Bob's burgers.
NPR

White House Won't Seek To End 529 College Tax Break

All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor 529 plans. Critics had called the proposal to limit them a tax hike on the middle class.
NPR

Yahoo Plans To Spin Off Remaining Stake In Alibaba

Yahoo has announced it will spin off its 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. Shareholders had been waiting for that decision. The move needs regulatory approval.

Leave a Comment

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