Don’t overlook the dangers of acid snow

Spring melt can increase lake acidity. Photo by Susan Bibeau
Spring melt can increase lake acidity. Photo by Susan Bibeau

Don’t overlook the dangers of acid snow
In your

March/April 2013 issue there was an article by Paul Post titled “Undoing acid-rain damage.” Most everyone who writes about this issue does not address the total problem of acid precipitation and deposition.
From my experience, acid snow has a major effect on the waters of the Adirondacks. As part of my work in forestry at Finch, Pruyn & Company, I set up a program in the late 1970s to measure the pH of all the water bodies on our property. One of the interesting findings from this work was the large difference in acidification in the ponds between mild winters and heavy-snow winters. When we had a mild winter with not much snow, the pH in the ponds would actually go up (become less acidic) from 5.8 to 5.9 or 6.0. Heavy snows, however, brought the pH down. I have measured the pH of snow at a highly acidic 3.6. When we have the spring thaw, there is a large volume of very acidic water flowing into our water bodies.

Richard D. Nason, Glens Falls
Nason is a retired forester and forest historian

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