Icy roads, salty streams
Clearing South Carolina's roads has been a tough job this week.
Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 17:08
FROZEN ROAD: Needs more salt? (Photo: Buonvino/Flickr)
Earlier this week an unusual amount of snow (eight inches in my back yard) and ice blanketed a large part of South Carolina. Many of the roads have been impassable even though South Carolina Department of Transportation has been working non-stop to get the roads cleared.
As of Wednesday at 4 p.m., SC DOT reported dumping more than 22,000 tons of salt onto roads. Salt can do a nasty number on vehicles, but it can also cause harm to our environment. That salt can end up in our rivers, streams and groundwater supplies.
Raising the salinity of freshwater systems can significantly alter biodiversity since most freshwater organisms cannot tolerate salt. Salt can also alter the makeup of the soil, allowing more minerals to enter waterways, as well.
While safe driving conditions are important in a storm like this, remember that much of what we put onto our roads, driveways and lawns ends up in our water.