Environmental Effects of Road Salt
Christa J. Lackmeyer
Department of Geology and Geography
Denison University, Granville, Ohio 43023
The sodium chloride (NaCl), or road salt, used to deice our roads in the winter is actually very damaging to our environment. It poses both human and biological threats from far reaching effects, such as groundwater contamination and reduction of soil permeability, to those as minimal as vehicle corrosion. This has already become apparent in the case studies of road salt effects in Wisconsin, the Metropolitan Toronto region, east central Massachusetts, and other various northern regions in the United States. The hazards of road salt have caused people to search out mitigation strategies. Most of these incorporate changes in applications of the salt or alternative deicers, all of which have different benefits and costs. Lawmakers have also gotten involved, trying to pass legislation that would limit the use of deicing salts. New knowledge of weather pattern phenomena will aid predictions of road salt consumption in the future.