Road salt choking ecosystems and contaminating water, says Kent State professor

Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 at 7:45 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Dr. Anne Jefferson is a geologist at Kent State and she says we are killing Mother Nature slowly every winter.

"I have lived all over the country and I have never seen an area that applies as much salt as Northeast Ohio," says Jefferson.

She tells Cleveland 19 too much salt is being applied. We are actually salting up our streams lakes and wetlands, and it's ruining our drinking water with all this salt.

Experts have been measuring the salt in bodies of water in Northeast Ohio. The amount of salt being dumped on our roads has to go somewhere. It moves quickly after a good winter rain. She says begins looking for a storm drain in the snow.

She says. "And there is pipe that leads out to the Cuyahoga River."

Jefferson says more salt is being applied now than it was decades ago, but it's not too late to change and go for an alternative. Other cities have already started.

"Some places apply sand so it reduces the slippage there are also newer alternatives like beet juice, pickle brine," said Jefferson.

If this is alarming, it should be. Jefferson believes all this salt is toxic.

She says, "Our streams are becoming increasingly salty in the summer and eventually it will get worse with all this winter salt."

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