During winter, road salt is often used to melt snow and ice, making roads safer for drivers. However, this practice can have a serious impact on water quality. Let’s take a look at how road salt affects our waterways and what steps can be taken to minimize its effects.
The Impact of Road Salt on Water Quality
Road salt is primarily composed of sodium chloride (NaCl). When road salt enters our waterways, it increases the salinity or the concentration of other minerals in the water. This can disrupt the delicate balance of aquatic ecosystems, leading to the death of sensitive plant and animal species that cannot tolerate higher levels of salinity. In addition, high levels of salinity can also make drinking water sources less palatable by introducing off-flavors and other contaminants into the water supply.
Minimizing Road Salt Impacts
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize road salt’s impacts on our environment and water. Here are a few actions you can take:
- Reduce your use of road salt when possible. Try using sand or other de-icing products instead whenever possible.
- Be aware that some de-icing products contain chlorides, which may also adversely affect water quality; read labels carefully before purchasing any de-icing product.
- Sweep any excess road salt from sidewalks or parking lots after storms, so it doesn’t end up in storm drains and eventually make its way into local rivers and lakes.
- Ensure your car is properly serviced throughout the winter season; this will help reduce fuel consumption and limit your contribution to air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels in cold weather conditions.
- Educate yourself about proper application rates for different de-icer products; using too much can be just as harmful as using too little!
Consider Water Filtration
A water filtration system removes impurities from water by using a physical barrier, chemical, or biological process. Easterday-Wilson can determine common contaminants in your well water and recommend a design that eliminates distracting smells, stains, and tastes.
Schedule a Free In-Home Water Test in Mount Airy, MD
If you notice a strange taste in your water or contaminants, Easterday-Wilson Water Services can help. We treat countless water quality problems and eliminate common water contaminants on a daily basis. Call us at 301-831-5170 for additional information and schedule your free water evaluation today.