In the Northeast, winter weather has become associated with one particular pollutant: salt. When snow and ice hit the ground, de-icing salts (comprised of chlorides) are scattered liberally across roads, sidewalks and driveways to melt ice. Salt provides a valuable service in the wintertime by improving the safety of roads and walkways, but overapplication can lead to harmful impacts on water quality.
Though useful for mitigating slippery conditions, chlorides can infiltrate groundwater and runoff into nearby waterbodies, posing a threat to aquatic species and drinking water supplies. Salt can also corrode infrastructure, buildings and vehicles.
In partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chloride Technical Management Workgroup (EPA), NEIWPCC created a nationwide Chloride Resources Clearinghouse to catalog innovative and alternative chloride reduction strategies.
“There are so many organizations working to manage chlorides, but chloride-centric conversations tend to fall out of priority because we only discuss the issue for a short period of the year,” said James Plummer, a NEIWPCC environmental analyst. “The Chloride Resources Clearinghouse is intended to provide folks with tools that will keep them from needing to reinvent the wheel or reach out to other organizations for materials as soon as temperatures start to drop.”
Defined as an information-sharing platform with a searchable database, the clearinghouse contains a growing collection of more than 100 chloride-related resources. Information stored in the clearinghouse covers a wide variety of topics including aquatic organism impacts, public outreach efforts and alternative de-icing techniques. The platform is intended to assist all parties who are involved with the use or management of chlorides.
The Chloride Resources Clearinghouse is housed and updated on the NEIWPCC website. The tool is also listed on the recently launched EPA Salt webpage.
To add resources to the Chloride Resources Clearinghouse please fill out the form on the clearinghouse webpage, and contact James Plummer at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.