Monday, October 31, 2011

Learn About Road Salt Alternatives Before Winter Is Here To Stay

On Thursday, November 10, Great Swamp Watershed Association and United Water will present a special workshop on environmentally sensitive snow and ice removal practices for the approaching winter season. The Winter Roads Maintenance Workshop will provide tailored information for an audience of landscapers; apartment, condo, office, and campus maintenance crews; snow plowing contractors; municipal public works departments and others engaging in moderate to large-scale snow removal activities during winter months. Homeowners are also encouraged to attend to pick up tips on environmentally sound de-icing techniques for their own properties.

“We look forward to helping GSWA educate attendees about new snow and ice management techniques that will increase efficiency, save money, and reduce their impact on water quality,” said United Water Vice President for External Affairs Edmund M. DeVeaux.

The goal of the workshop is to raise awareness about year-round pollution from road salt and other winter road treatments.  Scientific study has demonstrated that road salt is the most abundant water pollutant found in our area.  Water quality testing performed by GSWA experts along Morris County’s Loantaka Brook between 2005 and 2007 illustrates the larger problem facing the 55 square mile Great Swamp Watershed.  The study concluded that local wintertime de-icing regimes along roads, adjacent to parking lots, and in the vicinity of large housing and office complexes introduced sodium and chloride contamination into the stream at levels that would cause chronic toxicity in stream water throughout the year.  The enduring presence of road salt is attributable to its ability to be retained in the soil for a long period of time, gradually leaching into groundwater supplies.

For more information about GSWA’s Loantaka Brook study, please see the following web page:

GSWA research on road salt prompted the organization to produce a similar workshop in 2009.  More than 40 participants from local municipal public works departments attended that event. The Nov. 10 workshop will build on the success of this original program by extending information about salt alternatives to a new audience that also engages heavily in snow and ice removal activities.

During the workshop, presenters will lay out the environmental effects of sodium and chloride on water quality, and provide information about alternatives to traditional road salt.  Some of the alternatives covered will include the use of pre-wetted salts and brine. Presenters also will spend time reviewing the equipment needed to make and use brine.

The Winter Roads Maintenance Workshop will take place on Thursday, November 10, 2011, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., at GSWA’s offices located at 568 Tempe Wick Road in Morristown, NJ. Admission is free, but advanced registration is appreciated.

Please register online at or call 973-539-3500 x22.  A continental breakfast will be served.

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