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Is road salt dangerous for the environment?

Is road salt dangerous for the environment?

Matt Wilson

  • Scott LaMar

Smart Talk is available every weekday at 9:15 and 7:30 on WITF 89.5 and 93.3. You can also stream WITF radio live on our website or ask your smart speaker to “Play WITF Radio.”

Winter can be dangerous because of slippery roads. Whenever the weather forecast calls for snow and ice, PennDot and local municipalities’ road crews go to work to treat roadways before a storm and then plow and clear them afterwards.

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Road salt is one of their tools. It melts the snow and makes roads, roads and highways more safe. Motorists almost take it for granted that roads will be cleared and salt used to do so.

PennDot uses 800,000 tons of salt per year.

Salt is evident in the hazy white streaks on pavements and sidewalks.

But road salt doesn’t just melt snow and ice. It can be absorbed into the soil, which can cause problems for aquatic life and plants.

So says our guest on Monday’s Smart TalkJohn Jackson, Senior Research scientist Stroud Water Research CenterChester County

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