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How road salt can harm the environment

Although it has been sunny and warm, the lasting effects of road salt will continue to remain an issue well beyond our last snow events.

The most common mixture for deicing salt is sodium chloride. This mixture is effective and fairly cheap compared to other mixtures making for a solution for keeping roads clear and safe. However, this mixture is actually harmful for the environment as it contaminates drinking water, endangers/ kills animals, causes soil erosion, and is destructive for roadways. The higher traces of sodium can lead to health related risk as it can contaminate drinking water for those with high blood pressure.

Aquatic animals such as fish can become endangered or killed due to increases in chloride which can devastate lakes and rivers.

According to the EPA, road salt can weaken roadways and leads to about $5 billion worth of annual road repairs in the United States.

Other mixtures that exist can sometimes be healthier for the environment, but the cost is too high for manageable operations.

Article Topic Follows: Insider Blog

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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


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