Too much road salt reaches metro lakes, streams, agency says

Road salt
In a this Sept. 16, 2014 photo, salt is unloaded at the Scio Township, Mich. maintenance yard.
Carlos Osorio | AP 2014

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says too much road salt is winding up in Twin Cities lakes and streams.

A recent study found three dozen bodies of water with chloride levels that exceed state standards. Too much salt can harm fish and encourage invasive plants.

The MPCA's Brian Livingston, who supervises the metro watershed district, said there are ways to reduce salt use without compromising winter road safety. Such methods, he said, include "wetting the salt so it doesn't bounce off the highways and actually gets applied directly onto the surface, and measuring more accurately the amount of salt that's being applied, and not over-applying it."

The agency is taking public comment through Sept. 2 on a plan aimed at reducing road-salt pollution in metro waterways.

Map: Metro lakes impaired by road salt

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