About Ry Rivard

Ry covers water for the Explorer. Before coming to New York, he reported on water and energy for Voice of San Diego.
He can be reached at ry@adirondackexplorer.org.

Reader Interactions


  1. Boreas says

    A terrible predicament – especially in the Adirondacks which has notoriously thin, sandy, mineral soils more subject to runoff and rapid percolation into groundwater. The state should offer well desalination systems to people whose wells have been and CONTINUE to be contaminated. At the same time they need to be reducing salt usage as much as possible. Why should motorist’s safety be put in front of resident’s safety? Motorists have a choice to drive the roads, residents, livestock, and wildlife have to live with whatever gets dumped on them. Doesn’t sound right to me.

    Even with wells being desalinated (which isn’t likely), it will not stop salt runoff into soil, wetlands, ponds, lakes, and streams. Other than the Northway and a very few major arteries, I would like to see the Park be a salt-free zone. Snow tires, studded tires, and AWD are all tools used around the world for snowy roads. Improving winter driver skills was a solution for decades – why not bring that back as well? Put the cost and responsibility on the motorists who use the roads, and stop poisoning the environment and homeowners. Wouldn’t it be nice to own a vehicle for 10 years without it rusting out? Road salt also damages roads, guard rails, sign posts, etc., etc. – all needing to be replaced more frequently at taxpayer expense. Legislators need to start serving all of their constituents, not just the ones with car keys.

    • Chris says

      There are many places in the countey with tougher winters that use no salt at all. Learn how to drive in those conditions, get the right tools to help you do so, or stay home.

  2. Marsha Stanley says

    Many thanks for this fine coverage of an important issue. And thanks to AdkAction.org, the non-profit I helped found, which has doggedly pursued this issue for some seven years and finally gotten the attention the issue deserves. Fine reporting like this and the continuing work of AdkAction may eventually get state action. I find it curious that the largest salt mines in the U.S. are in New York state, with a vested interest in perpetuating this tragedy. Go talk to them next.

    • Chris Andrus says

      Great article, Adirondack Explorer! What can we do with the politicians to help farmers and others with contaminated wells, and rusting bridges?

  3. Tony Porter says

    Good luck with that.
    Either salt the highways or have a tremendous amount of accidents.
    Your choice, enviros.

    • Dana says

      Enviros? Last I knew we all shared this environment. Glad it is our choice!

      The number of accidents also increases dramatically with the number of idiots on the road during a storm who don’t want to wait. The problem cannot be solved by salt alone unless you are fine with poisoning wells and the environment. This state uses too much salt on roads that are not even high-traffic roads, like many of those in the Park. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Using salt in the right place at the right time and reducing how much we use can go a long way to help with the problem.

  4. Chris says

    Wow….the numbers are incredible…50,000lbs of salt per lane per mile!?

    I can understand the expediency of using it. But without understanding what it is doing to our world, literally poisoning it, we are terribly irresponsible. People, animals, ecosystems.

    And now with the EPA’s directive to not enforce the Clean Water Act (a shocking reversal of decades of progress), we are in for more.

  5. Jim Bowman says

    Years ago The state roads were sanded! Very little salt was used if any. Commonsense was the rule and you slow down during winter months! Today drivers think that we need to maintain the same speed during the winter as they do in the summer! Is it worth destroying our lakes and streams not to mention the millions of trees that are dead along our state Highways

    • Boreas says


      Even sand has environmental issues along streams and rivers and clean-up problems in drainage systems. If we simply replace huge amounts of salt with huge amounts of sand, we may just increase other problems. Probably better for the wells though. If we could limit sand or salt to hills, curves, and intersections it would help. But ultimately, I feel the winter driver is ultimately responsible for negotiating roads safely. If you can afford a car and insurance, you can afford 4 good snow tires. AWD isn’t particularly expensive. During storms, employers should be more forgiving of lateness or snow days.

  6. Mike B says

    In Iowa the DOT has gone largely to spraying brine solution on the roads as opposed to rock salt. They claim that this process uses ~70% less salt. Not perfect but a significant improvement.

    • Darlene Georges says

      wow they had an episode on Highway through hell about Canada using brine, I think it was from beets, and they were pleasantly surprised that it worked so well.

  7. Joe says

    Didn’t ever occur to anyone that NYS is subsidizing its salt-mining industry by using so much salt? Check into it.

    I can only echo what others have said, otherwise – learn to drive, DON’T drive, get studded tires, even chains. The car is not a sacred cow. People are not biological extensions of their cars. Many if not most trips aren’t necessary. If you drive long distances to a job, move.

  8. Robinson Foster says

    You get what you pay for. The Adirondack Explorer rejects rail service to Lake Placid so it needs more salt on the roads. Passive aggressive. Stop supporting the rail trail. Develop the railroad.

  9. Darlene Georges says

    Salt is a ridiculous waste of money, salt will melt ice but then the water left behind freezes again and requires more salt. I live in St. Lawrence county and all the towns here use sand. They use much less sand than the state uses salt because the sand increases traction and even if the ice doesn’t melt the sand pocks the ice and creates good traction even on walkways. There is salt in sand naturally, but it is not as bad as pure salt and less is needed to afford enough traction.
    The state should be reimbursing residents and creating a better system to keep waterways free of salt.

  10. Dennis Ryan says

    I wish you would do a story on Burlington Vermont having a sewage overflow pipe going a half mile into lake champlain dumping 3 million gallons of poop,/ sewage into lake champlain

  11. Bill Miner says

    I live on State Highway 3. You have a right to travel past my house during the winter. You do not have a right to poison my water so that you can travel at 60 MPH. Pitcairn, NY

  12. nathan says

    used to be most smaller roads in adk were sanded and little salt. got back to plowing and sanding, people go back to driving with a brain and slow down. snowing go slower, get snow tires, awd/ 4×4.
    the salt will start wiping out the streaams/lakes and it will be gone for decades or generations.
    sadly all the home owners will need reverse osmosis filters at great cost and ongoing costs. through no fault of their own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Is the state kicking the can into another winter season? WAITING FOR THE ROAD SALT REPORT

Like what you're reading?

Join the community of people powering our rigorous, nonprofit Adirondack journalism with a donation.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox