Salted Roads Could Have Negative Affect on Plant Life

5 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Friday, February 01 2013 Feb 1, 2013 Friday, February 01, 2013 2:22:00 PM CST February 01, 2013 in 8 Goes Green
By: Danielle Carter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning mid-Missourians about the dangers to plant life when using salt and salt compounds to de-ice roads.

Angela Belden, resource forester for the department, said even though this winter has been mild and not much salt has been placed on roadways, salt buildup over the years can still cause issues.

"It affects the soil in that it kind of clogs those empty spaces between the soil particles so that water can't infiltrate, and it just kind of makes sort of a crust so water can't get down into the roots," Belden said.

However, there are alternatives to salt and other salt compounds, and though they may be more expensive, Belden said many areas still use them.

"I think it is an environmental issue," said Belden. "A lot of places use sand, also, or they'll use a combination of something with grit and the salt, so they're not throwing out as much salt."

Steve Sapp of Columbia Public Works said in the past few years, Columbia has switched from using fly ash and salt to salt compounds, brine, gravel, and even beet juice as more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

At the city's Walter Leroy Anderson Salt Facility, a storage area two stories tall is full of ash to use in special circumstances. Sapp said the ash is still used for when traction is needed on an icy road--not to actually get rid of the ice. He said the city eliminated ash as a mainstream option for both cleanliness and environmental reasons, since the ash runoff into streams can cause issues for water and wildlife.

In addition, a dome-like structure houses salt, and other machines dispense brine and calcium chloride, other compounds used to treat icy roads.

Sapp said that the city monitors conditions closely in order to determine which method to use.

"We subscribe to a private weather forecaster that really watches just the Columbia, Boone County area really closely for us and talks to us about precipitation. We monitor road temperatures...and then we look at what kind of precipitation precedes the frozen precipitation," Sapp said. "We've had a lot of rain over the past couple days, so pre-treating with the calcium chloride or with a salt brine solution, or with the beet juice would've simply washed away, so it wouldn't have done any good."

Sapp said the ice doesn't just affect roads and highways--it can affect runways, too. The Columbia Regional Airport may have had to shut down a couple times this year had it not been for some salt alternatives used to clear the runway.

"We're using a new chemical on the runways now for de-icing and pre-treatment agent that will take the melting temperature down to about five degrees above zero," Sapp said. "We're using a very stiff broom that brooms the snow and ice off the runway. It doesn't compact it and make it slick," said Sapp.

All in all, Sapp said there is no perfect fix to de-icing roads.

"There's no real magic solution to all this. It's just how do we treat our roads to make sure that they're safe and passable," said Sapp.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA- The neighborhood of Ridgefield Road and Wood Hill Road are on high alert after a series of break in's... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 7:18:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Hundreds of cyclists were traveling from Columbia to Boonville for the 10th annual Pedaler's Jamboree. The event... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:59:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - In August 2017, Michael Stephenson moved into his new town home at Aspen Heights for the new school... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:43:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Open pools means play time for many people in Columbia but Parks and Recreation is still hard at... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:42:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Seven people die every day due to house fires. The American Red Cross is teaming up with... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:30:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
INDEPENDENCE - An 87-year-old man has gone missing after leaving his residence Friday. He has been diagnosed with significant memory... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Thousands of people withstood the heat Saturday to support the U.S. armed forces and honor veterans at the... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 3:02:00 PM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - For those heading to the lake Memorial Day weekend, Saturday morning is the first day of a... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The counting of votes was underway Saturday following Ireland's referendum to lift the... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 6:43:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - New Bloomfield has a new mayor, but it's the way he was selected that has a group... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 9:26:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The ACLU of Missouri is suing the Independence School District on behalf of a senior banned... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 6:35:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Thornbrook neighborhood was without water and electricity for almost two hours on Friday. Columbia Water and... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 5:36:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – Four vehicle crashes have occurred this week along State Road F west of Fulton in Callaway County.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 4:12:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After serving eight years in the United States Air Force, the passion of this veteran for sky travel... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In another day of political theater, the special House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens heard new testimony... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Organizers are expecting a large turnout for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans" airshow on Memorial Day weekend. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- When most people lose an animal, one of the first steps is to put a "missing" sign on a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:46:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Aircraft and pilots met at Columbia Regional Airport Friday to prepare for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans"... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:45:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 80°
9pm 81°
10pm 79°
11pm 75°
12am 75°