Chemical Rock Salt: What’s the Environmental Impact Come Spring?

Have you read a label on these bags of chemical salt? Does it bother you that we have so much of it covering our sidewalks and streets?

Before this last snow fall the city had a covering of rock salt and chemical deicer that was shocking – every street had a mound of it along the curb. And during this ice storm, even more was put down.

Not that the chemical deicers gave us ice-free sidewalks. The impenetrable ice + snow sheet we have now takes a whole other removal process called elbow grease.

Still, might it concern you that the EPA says “less is more” when it comes to chemical ice removal, the exact opposite of what you see in Washington DC?

And has anyone found a comprehensive environmental study on deicers? I’d like to know what will happen to all that salt & rarified chemical when it hits the Potomac in the spring.

Hermaphrodite bass, anyone?

5 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

    Funny, my roommate was just mentioning yesterday than when he visits family in PA he comes back with a few bags of straight-up calcium chloride because he can only find mixed-content stuff here.

  2. Stacey (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

    It does melt ice, unlike sand they put down here – I don’t even know what that’s about, and my street kred of having lived in the frozen tundra for many years and never seen sand used… i mean, obviously it doesn’t work or they would use it up there.

    Salt melts ice on pavement… not ice on top of snow on top of snow on top of pavement/grass.

    Short answer – I’d rather see ice-melting salt go in to the Potomac and make for creepy fish than see a whole lot more humans walking around with broken wrists and ankles because they slipped on ice…

  3. MBFan#2 (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

    I lived in near tundra many moons ago – and the only ice removal technique I found worked was elbow grease. I would spend an hour or so trying to crack ice from our sidewalks and driveway using a metal flat shovel, hitting the ice and occasionally causing sparks to fly.

    That’s the problem with people nowadays – it’s always has to be the path of least resistance.

  4. wayan (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

    Elbow grease works every time. Salt, only when put down before it snows & sand aids traction if there is already ice.

    And Stacy, I agree, I’d rather not have more ice-injured people. I’m out of soccer for life due to an ice fall in Russia years ago.

    But a bum knee sounds better than chemical ice in my tap water or fresh fish

  5. Rosemary (unregistered) on February 20th, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

    At my house we never use salt/sand of any kind (the gravel driveway tends to not get too iced up) but this last storm has almost done my father in. He went out with this massive steel bar thing and attempted to break up the ice so I could get my car in and out of the driveway without squirrelling everywhere and all he could do was poke holes. He couldn’t get enough leverage to get the ice to break up into chunks.

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