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Road salt causing lake problems

Apr 12, 2017 12:05 am
Brian Nearing reports in The Albany Times Union that lakes in the Northeast and elsewhere in the U.S. are getting saltier, a report released April 10 shows. Salt applied to roads in the winter caused saline levels to rise in the New York City reservoirs in Schoharie County, as well as Cannonsville and Pepacton, Delaware County, and Neversink, Sullivan County. All told, four in ten lakes across the Northeast were saltier, according to the report. Katherine Weathers, an ecosystem ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Dutchess County co-authored the study with Hilary Dugan, now a lake and waterbody sciences professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Weathers said they found that lakes near paved roads, parking lots, and other surfaces receiving road salt were saltier. The conservation group Fund for Lake George guesses that 30,000 metric tons of road salt are added to state and local roads in the Lake George basin. That's enough salt to fill 300 rail cars, three-miles long. "Road salt is being called the acid rain of our time with good reason. This study shows the breadth of a problem that only grows worse," said Eric Siy, executive director of the fund. A recent study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy found excessive salt can skew the gender balance of frog offspring to disproportionately female, 60 percent to 40 percent. Read the full story in The Albany Times Union.