Road-salt runoff raises concern for streams

March 4, 2014

Road-salt runoff has to go somewhere. Environmental researchers at Clemson raise concerns that the record amounts of salt crystals and brine used on icy roads this winter will wash into the freshwater and affect the food chain. Too much salt becomes an environmental stress and can be deadly to aquatic animals. The state DOT reported using nearly 34,000 tons of salt and 2.3 million gallons of brine solution since January. Although this is more than usual for South Carolina, it’s not much more than a pinch compared to Ohio, where average use tallies about 650,000 tons of salt a year. The situation represents a conflict of competing needs: road safety and the environment.

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