Expert: Excess Road Salt Can Affect Waterways

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Another winter storm means more salt on the roads — salt that will ultimately wash into the area’s waterways.

What happens when thousands of tons of road salt finds its way into local streams?

We put that question to Dr. Christopher Crockett, director of planning and research for the Philadelphia Water Department.

“Really, the first impact from that would be on aquatic life,” Crockett says. “And that’s really where the first impacts would be seen. They’re the most sensitive to the sodium chloride out there on the streets and sidewalks.”

Crockett says high levels of chloride can be a stressor on fish, to the point where they won’t reproduce.

But salt in the water is a long-term concern, Crockett says.

“Though there may be acute instances where a drinking water facility or municipality would be impacted where they would have to shut down for a day or switch to another source, this is really a long-term, 25 to 50 year or even 100-year issue.”

He adds that governments are increasingly going to need to balance the need for clear roads versus clear water.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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Comments

One Comment

  1. English Teacher says:

    “Excess Road Salt Can Effect Waterways” –> “Excess Road Salt Can Affect Waterways”

    (It has an effect on them. It affects them. It does not effect them.)

    “What happens when thousands of tons of road salt find their way into local streams?” –> “…when thousands of tons of road salt finds its way…”

    We are talking about one quantity of salt. Even though it is thousands of tons, because we are dealing with one quantity, you want to use the singular. What happens when thousands of tons of road salt finds its way into local streams?

    And the answer is… Eh, it’s a long-term problem, don’t worry about it.

    1. Mel K says:

      English question: What would be correct for, “Thousands of children found their way to school?” It would sound weird to say, “Thousands of children found its way to school.”

      1. J says:

        That example is not a singular quantity though….It would be most similar to saying “Thousands of salt shakers found their way into local streams” which is not what we have here. What you’re thinking of would be something more along the lines of “Thousands of tons of children found its way to school.”

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