Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Environmental group distributes chloride kits for testing impact of road salt on local water


A national environmental group is raising concerns about the overuse of salt to remove ice from roads.

The Izaak Walton League, based out of Maryland, is offering chloride test kits to help volunteers test local water.

Samantha Briggs is with the League. She said too much salt can be toxic for fish and the environment but may also impact drinking water.

“Some folks who are on high blood pressure medication in the winter months if they are in a cold region where they use a lot of road salt, they may have to up their medication in the winter just because there is more chloride in their drinking water sources,” she said.

Briggs said chloride in local water supplies should be close to zero, but when salt was dumped near their headquarters tests showed levels of about 700 parts per million.

“The animals in your stream, macroinvertebrates, the fish they can be harmed when those levels exceed 240 parts per million so that was a huge blow to our stream site near our headquarters,” she said.

Birggs said the group advocates for reducing the amount of salt used on roads by applying salt brine to roadways.

“That will allow for less of that actual salt to be applied and a thin layer applied to the whole roadway so you’re not sacrificing safety but you’re still applying less of that road salt.”

Briggs said the League is offering free test kits to people across the country interested in testing their water.

Last year, the group distributed roughly 500 test kits across 17 states. This year, the group hopes to distribute 1,200.

You can order a free test kit here.