Salt and Ice; Minnesotas Battle
Salt is applied in the thousands of tons every year to reduce ice and, in turn, reduce accidents on Minnesota roads. When the ice and snow melt each spring, the majority of this solution is relieved into rivers and lakes through storm drains on Minnesota roads. The salt negatively affects fish and aquatic plants by dehydrating them and altering fertilization. The damaging effects of sodium chloride are long term and not easily repaired. The Minnesota Department of Transportation can take effective action by reducing salt usage and opting to alternate the biodegradable solution potassium formate.
Every year the metropolitan area of Minnesota uses 350,00 tons, commerical and government, of road salt. (Homstad). To put this in perspective, if the salt was distributed to the residence of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, each person would lay 260 pounds of salt on the roads.
Sodium Chloride(NaCL), the salt that is applied to roads, is the most common practice to reduce ice on roads in Minnesota and around snowy parts of the United States. Salt has been the most effective means of deicing roads because it lowers the freezing point of water, there for melting the snow, and it is the one of the cheapest products to use. According to a study done by Marquette University in 1992, accident rates are eight times higher when salt is not applied to icy, snowy roads. Salt is proven an effective reducer of accidents (Kuemmel). What people commonly are not aware of is that salt is generally effective until 15 degrees farenheit. After that point, the salts ability to break the bond between the ice and the road rapidily decreases until, at about 5f, salt is no longer a method to melt ice.
Once the ice and snow melt, the water product runs into storm drains, which consiquntly drain into our bodies of water. The main drainage exit of metro storm drains is into our rivers and streams. The most common; the Mississippi...
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