MnDOT Works to Balance the Effects of Road Salt on the Environment

KAAL TV, 6 January 2016
Jessie Johnson

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is trying something new when it comes to salting the roads.

Megan Moeller from the Olmsted County Public Works Department says that a study done by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Transportation found that a majority of the salt on the ground find its way into the water.

“They think about 78% of road salt that’s applied to our hard surfaces can end up in our surface waters,” says Moeller, “There’s no cheap or easy way to remove that salt from the surface waters so once it’s there it’s there for good.”

According to MnDOT’s Mike Dougherty, they are aware of the amount of salt they are using, but keeping the roads safe is their priority.

“It’s always a balancing act and talking with folks that used to snow plow 10 and 15 years ago, they used to just put lots of salt down and that was good. Now, it’s a much more measured and thoughtful way of putting it down,” said Dougherty.

“This balance is being looked into by Olmsted County”.

“The county and the Minnesota Department of Transportation are doing research on how to keep our roadways safe,” says Moeller, “This will minimize their salt use.”

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