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Good Question: What effect does the salt used on the roads have on the environment?

We've had several snow events here in Central Kentucky in recent weeks.

All that snow prompted a Good Question:

Marvin in Lexington writes: What effect does the salt used on the roads have on the environment?

Its been a rough winter.

"Historically we're probably in the 8,000 ton range." said Sam Williams with Lexington Streets and Roads.

Williams and his road crews have used well over that this winter, try 11,000 tons of salt and 35,000ve thousand gallons of brine.

Most of that went to treating roads just in the month February.

We know salt can be bad for our cars, but some claim all that excess salt is an environmental hazard.

Researchers say it ends up in city sewers and streams, but Williams disagrees.

"We try to use it basically weighing the environmental problems against the safety of our traveling public."

Williams says Fayette County regularly tests urban streams in the area, and consistently the tests show no indication of a major environmental impact.

"We monitor those very closely and salt has never really shown up as a problem area for us." said Williams.

As for other alternatives that might be greener, they often are much more expensive.

For now Williams says he feels good about what he's using.

"We feel that sodium chloride is a very tried and true chemical, that we feel comfortable in using in the rate we apply it."

Sam Williams says the city operates a number of street sweepers that helps them control the salt residue on the streets, helping keep all that salt out of the storm drains.


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