A resource for winter maintenance decision makers
By Seth Faber
Our nation’s increasingly harsh winters demand an effective and affordable means of de-icing roadways in order to help us get around safely. To date, the most viable solution continues to be sodium chloride (road salt) which is composed of 40 percent sodium ions and 60 percent chloride ions. The problem is that these chemicals make their way into the environment through runoff from rain, melting snow and ice, as well as through splash and spray caused by vehicles and the wind. In recent years, as much as 22 million tons of salt have been spread on US roads (according to Smithsonian.com), which is equivalent to 137 pounds of salt for every American. That’s a lot of salt that can find its way onto vegetation and into the soil, groundwater, storm drains and surface waters causing significant impact to the environment.