DuPage County Stormwater Management is encouraging residents to reduce excessive use of road salt this winter. Despite a mild 2011-2012 winter, chloride concentrations resulting from stormwater runoff carrying road salt into streams and storm drains were higher than in recent years.
Summer water quality sampling of the West Branch DuPage River by the DuPage River Salt Creek Workgroup (DRSCW) revealed higher chloride levels despite fewer instances of snow. DRSCW speculates the minimal precipitation – both in the winter and summer months – led to the increase in chloride concentrations because of a decrease in water levels.
“Many people think about nonpoint source pollution in stormwater runoff as a problem only during the warmer months,” said Stormwater Management Planning Committee Chairman Jim Zay. “However, the chemicals laid on the ground during snowy, winter months also have lasting effects.”
Stormwater Management is encouraging residents to reduce excessive use of road salt by utilizing best management practices. Removing snow prior to applying a deicer, applying just enough to reduce hazard and sweeping up un-dissolved product after a storm for reuse are all ways to reduce the instances of salt running into DuPage waterways.
“Deicing best management practices may require more time or energy, but reducing chlorides in DuPage County’s streams and rivers ensures our aquatic habitats remain clean, healthy and enjoyable for recreational use,” said Chairman Zay.
DuPage County pre-wets road salt and removes snow prior to applying deicers in an effort to reduce chloride concentrations. For more information on chloride reduction, visit http://www.dupageco.org/EDP/Stormwater_Management/Water_Quality/1193/.