STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Free salt-testing kits available in Minnesota and Iowa

Can check in the impact of winter de-icing efforts on lakes and waterways.

Posted: Dec 9, 2020 6:32 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. – There’s a free way for people to check how salt used on roadways and sidewalks is affecting local streams or lakes this winter.

Salt Watch says it will send a free chloride-testing kit to anyone who asks and agrees to use the kit four times this winter. It’s part of a nationwide crowdsourced campaign run by the Izaak Walton League of America.

“Minnesota has a lot of road surfaces that get treated for snow and ice so we want to keep an eye on salt pollution in our waterways and help MPCA locate chloride hotspots around the state,” said Emily Bialowas, who runs Salt Watch. “This is an easy, quick and free way to test your stream or lake for road salt pollution.”

Mower County Soil and Water Conservation District and Cedar River Watershed District are encouraging the public to request a kit and gather data. “This is a great way for more people to get engaged in helping to protect and improve our waterways,” says watershed technician James Fett.

The kits should be used in one location – ideally in a river or stream downstream from a road or bridge – to test four times chloride throughout the winter. As for testing a lake, the kit includes guidelines for monitoring, such as using a dock if there is one because it’s best to get a sample from slightly off the shoreline.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the state has a growing problem with salty water that threatens freshwater fish and other aquatic life. Chloride from de-icing salt, water softening, dust suppressant, fertilizer and manure gets into lakes and streams, shallow groundwater and groundwater that supplies drinking water. Experts say just one teaspoon of salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water.

For more information on Salt Watch, send an email to saltwatch@iwla.org or go online at: www.saltwatch.org.

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Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 692029

Reported Deaths: 8118
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1420361857
Ramsey59138950
Dakota52802499
Anoka48675484
Washington31035311
Stearns25220241
St. Louis20709336
Scott19922146
Wright18796163
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Sherburne13732104
Carver1228652
Clay928595
Rice9218124
Blue Earth883747
Crow Wing7961102
Kandiyohi750289
Chisago725258
Otter Tail680795
Benton6577101
Mower570538
Winona561352
Goodhue557680
Douglas543684
Itasca527671
Beltrami521172
McLeod513464
Steele512821
Isanti497170
Morrison473363
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Becker445859
Polk439975
Freeborn434140
Lyon399854
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Pine379526
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Brown354244
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Todd328434
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Martin268733
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Cases: 438547

Reported Deaths: 6420
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Linn26618363
Scott23312265
Black Hawk19397338
Woodbury17483233
Johnson1698692
Dubuque14775221
Pottawattamie13369186
Dallas13048102
Story1211448
Warren707893
Webster6479103
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Clinton635898
Des Moines618084
Muscatine5985109
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Jasper532076
Lee529084
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Buena Vista479442
Marion464086
Plymouth442185
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Jones341159
Bremer331365
Washington330454
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Carroll326553
Benton325756
Boone318636
Mahaska282754
Dickinson276547
Kossuth257471
Clay255629
Jackson253844
Tama246073
Hardin244547
Buchanan244238
Delaware240143
Cedar228025
Fayette227945
Page225724
Wright221741
Winneshiek219237
Hamilton216752
Harrison205476
Madison199920
Clayton199758
Floyd195742
Butler191936
Poweshiek188837
Mills188225
Iowa185927
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Allamakee181152
Jefferson178238
Lyon178041
Calhoun172213
Hancock170336
Winnebago170131
Cass164356
Louisa161651
Grundy161335
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Worth9558
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