Road Salt Roundup

photo by Flickr user J.C. Burns

With all the snow and ice Missouri’s seen this month, it sure does make one wonder where all that road salt goes. Here are just a few articles to get you up to speed on what slows ice down.

Public Radio International’s “Living on Earth” magazine presents their Road Salt Report. Ashley Ahearn reports.

One recent National Academy of Sciences study shows that salt concentration in fresh water is on the rise in Maryland, New Hampshire and New York due to road salting and could make groundwater in many areas of the Northeast un-drinkable within a century.


But don’t let that get you down! Here’s one solution: A sensor detects salt on the road to avoid excess. A report from Spain on Phys.org

The sensor is capable of measuring the luminescent properties of sodium chloride (its range and decay time), which enables concentrations of salt lower than 20 g/m2 – the quantity it is recommended not to exceed – to be detected.

And then there’s beet juice. Washington, D.C. spent $18,000 on beet juice to pretreat its roads, and Delaware roads also “took a beeting.” (Their bad pun, not ours.)

Walerstein said the company buys its sugar beets from American growers, including farms in northern Ohio and Michigan.


See also:

“Winters in wintry cities remain salty year-round” by for the Great Lakes Echo.

An oldie but goodie: “Environmental Impact of Road Salt and Alternatives in New York” by William Wegner and Marc Yaggi.

Two stories Jan Ellen Spiegel: “Dumping plowed snow into bodies of water raises a few environmental issues” and “Between a rock (salt) and a hard place.”

Are there any Missouri counties or cities out there practicing alternatives? What do you use for your sidewalk? Let us know in the comments!

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