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Pa. Agencies Working To Minimize Road Salt Waste and Pollution

(Penndot salt trucks.  File photo)

(Penndot salt trucks. File photo)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Another snowfall last night meant crews put down even more road salt in an effort to make the roads as safe as possible.

But what does all that salt mean for the environment when it’s washed away?

Penndot says it is taking advantage of the latest technology to put down just the right amount of salt it needs for a storm.  So far this season, they’ve put down more than 90,000 tons.

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Deborah Fries says there could be some short-term impacts with the salt runoff, but this year it may not be so bad.

“This winter we’re seeing high flows in our streams and rivers, so there’s considerable dilution of that runoff,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “It’s also helpful to move the snow to areas where it can be allowed to melt with minimal impact.”

It’s better to put that snow on land, she says, because that slow filtration through soil helps filter out some of the harmful chemicals.

Penndot is using computers in its trucks to make sure the spreaders are calibrated to drop just the right amount of salt, to reduce waste and keep the roads clear more efficiently.

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