Minnesota PCA announces plan to reduce chloride in area waters

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ST. PAUL, MN – In response to increasing levels of chloride found in area waters, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been seeking feedback on their plan to reduce the amount of road salt in use every year on Minnesota roads in winter. Chloride levels in some metro area lakes and rivers are already close to reaching toxic levels for aquatic life, further heightening concerns. While sodium chloride has long been deemed the most cost effective way of keeping our roads ice free in winter, there are other hidden costs that are presenting themselves upon closer inspection. The corrosive properties of sodium chloride present problems for our cars, bridges, and storm drains as well, making massive repairs to our infrastructure necessary. The agency has also cited water passing through home water softeners and continuing into waste water treatment facilities as a major contributor to the problem. Chloride, once introduced to the water remains there forever. Some nitrogen fertilizers and other applied substances can exacerbate the problem as well. Homeowners are urged to limit the amount of these substances that they introduce into the ‘system’. Information on what homeowners can do to limit this introduction can be found at www.pca.state.mn.us