Paige Solomon, Cody Bowman, Ryan Smythe Preliminary Research of Road Salt
- Around 22 million tons of salt is used on roads across the U.S. annually
- Boston’s salt comes from Eastern Salt Company’s Chelsea Terminal (mines salt from Mexico, Egypt, Ireland, Australia, and Chile)-Boston’s salt came from Chile
- According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, around 585,000 tons of road salt were used for 2014’s snowfall (Boston received around 58.6 inches of snow from 2013-2014)
- So far this year, Boston has received around 84 inches of snow
- Costs of road salt have risen from $50 per ton to $70.65 per ton
- Sodium and chloride ions from the road salt runoff into streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater
- As areas in the U.S. become more developed, the risk of salt entering bodies of water increases. (Example: Mohawk River’s salinity increased by 130 percent from 1952 to 1998 as a result of the development of a nearby area)
- Chloride ions, as a result of road salt, exceed the “recommended federal criteria” in streams (more so during the winter months).
- Road salt can runoff into the groundwater causing saltier drinking water (happens more during the winter months)
- Higher levels of salt in bodies of water can result in a reduction of oxygen in the lower layers of water.
- Road salt dries out and kills trees and plants
- 1941, New Hampshire was the first state to use salt to dissolve ice and snow
- In bodies of water with increased chloride, there is a smaller margin of survival for frogs and salamanders
- Before 1997, Boston dumped snow into the harbor until the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection prohibited it.
- Boston is melting snow with a couple of snow-melting machines from Boston Port Authority (can melt 150 tons of snow per hour), and they are dumping snow in snow farms.
- One snow farm received 1,400 truckloads or 25,000 cubic yards of snow
- Boston’s drinking water comes from the Quabbin and the Wachusetts Reservoirs in Western Massachusetts
- Salt used to be used as a chemical weapon to destroy fields and farms in Roman times and before
- Eastern Salt Company’s Chelsea Terminal provides the salt to Boston
- Boston’s Public Works Department in charge of de-icing and plowing the streets
- Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection, Boston Water and Sewer Commission
- Charles River Watershed Association-keeps the Charles River clean
- The Boston Harbor Association
- Paul Lamb-Manager of Eastern Salt Company’s Chelsea Terminal
- Drivers of snow plows/salt trucks
- Robert Zimmerman Jr.-Executive Director of the Charles River Watershed Association
- Vivien Li (President) or Julie Wormser (Executive Director)-Boston Harbor Association