Waterways could be impacted by unlikely source - road salt

Much of our area is seeing snowfall over the next couple days and to prepare, city, county and state trucks will be working to keep the roadways clear.

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 5:24 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 7:07 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa- Much of our area is seeing snowfall over the next couple days and to prepare, city, county and state trucks will be working to keep the roadways clear.

After plows have removed what they can from the streets, trucks will often sand and salt, but that salt can be harmful to waterways.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, The Iowa Department of Transportation applied about 300,000 tons of salt on roadways in 2008. Studies show when the snow melts the salt is carried away into drains as well various bodies of water causing harm to aquatic life.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Agency, it takes only one teaspoon of road salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Those with the agency say there’s no way to remove chloride at high levels.

We spoke with a woman from Mason City who says she never thought of the impact salt can have on water quality.

“I guess I’ve never thought about it before,” says Mary Rohney, of Mason City. “Usually, all I’m thinking is am I going to get where I’m going safely because I have only been driving for about 6 months. I guess I am really nervous about driving, but I should probably consider that more.”

It is recommended that if you are using salt on your own sidewalk that you sweep it up once the pavement is dry and reuse it to keep it from washing away.

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