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Road Salt Can Destroy Freshwater Ecosystems — But There's No Easy Alternative

A front end loader picks up solar salt to put into the brine mixer at the Cambridge Public Works yard at Danehy Park. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A front end loader picks up solar salt to put into the brine mixer at the Cambridge Public Works yard at Danehy Park. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Between 15 million and 32 million metric tons of rock salt are used each year to clear snow and ice from the country’s roadways. But all that salt doesn’t stay on land.

Spring rains eventually wash it into rivers and streams. And salt can quickly destroy freshwater ecosystems.

WBUR’s Jesse Remedios reports on why this problem has no simple fix.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.