New England winters are tough—even for the hardiest New Englanders. We button up, bundle up, and do what we need to do to get through what can feel like the longest months of the year. This includes regularly plowing and salting our roads so we can safely conduct our daily activities. But did you know that the salt used to keep our roads safe is making its way into our drinking water? Read on to learn about the problems with road salt and drinking water and what you can do to protect your home and family.
Problems with Road Salt and Drinking Water
Just how much winter road salt is getting into our drinking water? According to smithsonian.com, over 22 million tons of salt are scattered on our nation’s roads each year. This amounts to roughly 137 pounds of salt per person! And by the time our snowy and icy roads are cleared, this salt is dissolving into our rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater.
1. Environmental Concerns
Environmental Health News recently reported that there are excess salt levels in roughly 37 percent of the drainage area of the lower 48 U.S. states. Why is this a concern? These increased salt levels cause an increase in pH or alkalinity, which can harm organisms, insects, and animals living in and around the salty water. There’s even some evidence that high salt levels can foster the growth of certain invasive plant species.
2. Release of Toxic Elements from Nearby Soils
The New York Academy of Science also reports that, in addition to endangering ecosystems, high salt levels can trigger the release of toxic metals, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous from nearby soils into streams.
3. Corrosion and Leaching
You don’t have to look any further than your car during the wintertime to see the corrosive effects of salt. If you have elevated salt levels in your home’s water, your pipes could corrode, allowing toxic metals to leach into your drinking water. These high salt levels can also cause build-up in pipes, constricting the flow of water.
4. Health Concerns
If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, or have high blood pressure, elevated salt levels in your drinking water could cause health problems for you.
How to Know if You Have Too Much Salt in Your Drinking Water
If your drinking water tastes salty, it clearly needs to be treated. However, lower salt levels may not always be detectable by taste alone. The best way to ensure that your drinking water is clean and healthy is to have a water analysis. Contact the professionals at Secondwind Water Systems to schedule a free water test. If your salt level is too high, our water treatment specialists will recommend the best water treatment system to protect both your family and your water delivery system.
Home Water Treatment Systems in NH and MA
Secondwind Water Systems is the trusted water treatment specialist for homes, businesses, municipalities, and schools throughout New Hampshire. If you have concerns about your water, contact us today.
Photo Credit: jdj150