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Study of Environmental Effects of De-icing Salt on Water Quality in Minnesota

The use of sodium chloride (NaCl) as a de-icing chemical has   increased dramatically in the northern areas of the United States   over the last 5  years. An estimated 9.5 million tons of salt are   added to runoff in the United States each year, much of it   eventually finding its way into lakes, rivers, and groundwater. The   accumulation of sodium chloride in water and soil can cause   concentrations of chloride that are toxic to the environment. In   Minnesota, one of the leading states in salt use on highways, water   quality standards for chloride concentration are currently exceeded   in some bodies of fresh water.     The first goal of this research is to assemble existing data on the   use of salt in all forms and applications (ranging from roadway de-  icing to home water softening) and on the salinity/NaCl   concentrations in rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater statewide,   particularly in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The second goal   of this research is to interpret these data using several methods:   statistical analysis to establish characteristics such as mean   values, standard deviations, and trends; regression analysis to   establish correlations with factors such as population density, road   construction, and salt use practices; development of salt budgets at   various scales. The results of this analysis will provide baseline   information for the long term effects of salt applications on water   resources at a regional (metropolitan) and a local watershed (lake)   scale. In addition, several specific lakes which are prone to   receiving de-icing salt during snowmelt runoff will be monitored   monthly for a period of approximately one year. The data from this   monitoring will provide information on the effects of de-icing salt   at a seasonal time scale.    (sodium chloride); (NaCl); (de-icing); (de-icer); (salt);   (groundwater); (home water softening); (Minneapolis); (St. Paul);   (Minnesota)

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
State Province
Resource Being Monitored
Beneficial Use Impairment Assessments
Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat
Tainting of Fish and Wildlife Populations
Annex Numbers
Pollution from Contaminated Groundwater
Pollution from Non-Point Sources
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Pollution from Contaminated Groundwater
    Pollution from Non-Point Sources
  • Annex 17

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