Impact Of Salt And Sand
Salt and sand have traditionally been perceived as the cheapest and most effective materials for de-icing surfaces such as highways, walkways, and parking lots. However, many people do not realize that they have hidden impacts that can detract from their overall effectiveness. Even when applied in relatively small quantities, salt can:
- Deplete the oxygen supply needed by aquatic animals and plants
- Leach into the ground and change the soil composition, making it hard for plants to survive
- Leach into the groundwater, which sometimes flows to surface water; both are sources of drinking water
- Deteriorate paved surfaces, buildings, infrastructures and the environment.
Similarly, sand can:
- Bury the aquatic floor life, fill in habitats, and cloud the water
- Erode the stream banks and other landscapes as it is carried to the surface waters by storm water runoff
- Cause premature deterioration of floor surfaces as it is tracked into buildings
- Lose its effectiveness after becoming embedded in snow and ice
- Enter catch basins, storm drains, and surface waters if it is not swept up each spring
- Contribute to plugged storm drains, which can cause flooding.