The Impact of an Alternative Deicing Product on Urban Storm Basin Salinity
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Adverse winter driving conditions have been mitigated by the implementation of deicing salt applications to road surfaces for over 70 years. The effects that deicers, specifically sodium chloride, have on the environment have been the subject of numerous environmental pollutant studies. Excess deicing salt concentrations in the environment can destroy soil structure, hinder plant growth, and significantly impact aquatic ecosystems. This experiment was designed to test the ability of a deicing alternative product to reduce or minimize the environmental impact of traditional winter road salts on urban aquatic ecosystems. The experiment was performed throughout the 2010 – 2011 winter in Cook County, Illinois. One community chose to use traditional road salts, and the other community chose to supplement traditional road salt applications with a deicing alternative. The deicing alternative was made from de-sugared beet juice molasses. The ionic levels in the water from the basins of the two communities were compared by measuring the specific conductance. It was expected that the water sampled from the basins receiving inputs from the supplemented road salt applications would have lower ionic levels than those basins receiving inputs from traditional road salt applications only. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare the data between the two sample sites. The results of the experiment indicated with marginal confidence, that ionic levels present in water were reduced when a deicing alternative was partially substituted for traditional road salts.