Will a new roadmap to reduce salt use make a difference?
By Zachary Matson
The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force released its long-awaited report in September, offering a roadmap to rein in road salt use in the Adirondack Park.
The report came after months of state officials assuring it would soon be published and amid growing frustration among the task force members who produced it. Some members also said they wished the report included more accountability mechanisms to ensure state agencies act on the proposals.
Hold the Salt
With a panel of task force members and other experts, Adirondack Explorer examines what’s next for road salt reduction in the Adirondacks.
The report, and an accompanying technical appendix, offered an overview of elevated sodium and chloride levels throughout the state, summarized scientific research into the effects of salt contamination on human and ecological health, outlined pilot projects to test best practices for salting, suggested public education initiatives and made seven overarching recommendations to combat road salt pollution.
- Adopt more protective water quality standards and develop road salt reduction targets;
- Increase use of proven snow and ice removal practices that reduce overall salt use while maintaining service;
- Train snow removal professionals and the stakeholders who influence policies and salt use;
- Expand existing funding programs and create new ones to implement best practices and remediate negative impacts of salt use;
- Track salt applications at state, local and private levels and make data on its use publicly accessible;
- Create an outreach and awareness campaign to strengthen public understanding of salt use and its risks;
- Establish a clear process for reporting and remediating contamination of residential drinking water.