Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2013MD306B

Tracing the rates of road salt runoff movement from impervious surface to stream and the effects on soil and aquifer geochemistry

Institute: Maryland
Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-06-01 End Date: 2014-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $37,548 Total Non-Federal Funds: $94,618

Principal Investigators: Joel Moore, Steven Lev

Abstract: Each year millions of tons of de-icing compounds, primarily the road salt NaCl, are added to roads and other impervious surfaces in Maryland and elsewhere across the northern regions of North America and Europe. It has become increasingly clear that runoff containing road salt is negatively impacting the chemistry of roadside soils, shallow groundwater, and freshwater streams. In particular, High Na and Cl concentrations have negative implications for human health and for ecosystem function. Given that the negative impact of road salt runoff has been clearly established, it is critical to understand: 1) the role that storm water management basins play in controlling rates of road salt movement from impervious surfaces through soils and shallow groundwater to streams and 2) the geochemical effects ofroad salt movement through soils and aquifers. A more quantitative understanding of rates of movement and how soil and aquifer chemistry are affected will allow better predictive modeling of current and future salt impacts and can inform regulatory agencies seeking to reduce salt impacts.