Cary Institute Report Offers Strategies To Use Less Road Salt

Feb 25, 2019

Using less road salt would help mitigate damaging effects on the environment, and on municipal and state budgets. So says a new report from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, which recommends strategies for reining in the overuse of road salt. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with the report’s lead author.

Victoria Kelly also is manager of Millbrook-based Cary Institute’s Environmental Monitoring Program. She says the report builds on a Road Salt Forum held at Cary in 2018, and updates a report from 2010. She describes what has changed since.

Kelly says road salt has been in use for some 80 years and a viable replacement is not easy.

Kelly says there are alternative chemicals.

She says the accumulation of road salt in surface and groundwater is a growing problem that compromises drinking water and degrades the health of creeks and streams.  Kelly says each year, the U.S. applies between 15 and 32 million metric tons of salt to keep roads snow-free.

The Cary Institute Report is called “Road Salt: The Problem, The Solution, and How To Get There.”