Salted Roads Could Have Negative Affect on Plant Life

6 years 2 months 2 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 - United Airlines has confirmed that it added an additional daily flight to Chicago from Columbia Regional Airport (COU).... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 4:57:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) described what he called an "opportunistic" time for the state of Missouri in... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 12:58:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - Complaints, inspections and social media outcry surround Callaway Hills Animal Shelter.  This KOMU 8 Target 8... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 12:40:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Aurora Organic Dairy officially opened its Columbia milk plant Wednesday and is expected to create more than 100... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 12:11:00 PM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT — Holts Summit Ward 2 Aldermen Candidate Lisa Buhr started the process Wednesday for a special election... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:27:00 AM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A man from Brumley pleaded guilty Tuesday in three separate cases, two of which involved child sex crimes.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:21:08 AM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri's House Bill 992 would allow registered voters to cast an absentee ballot without stating a reason.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 17 2019 Apr 17, 2019 Wednesday, April 17, 2019 5:30:00 AM CDT April 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The man reported for suspicious activity at West Middle School Tuesday morning is charged with first-degree trespassing. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 9:57:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Domestic abuse survivors testified at a house hearing Tuesday night to push a bill that would keep... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 8:36:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 22-year-old man arrested for his involvement in a homicide over the weekend is currently enrolled in... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 7:26:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA -  Columbia Water and Light line workers are getting raises after the Columbia City Council voted to raise wages... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:40:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A fire significantly damaged a mobile home in northern Boone County around the Pinnacles area. It... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 5:46:00 PM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Daniel Boone Regional Library was evacuated due to a bomb threat on Tuesday, according to the Columbia... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 11:35:00 AM CDT April 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday members of landowner alliances and other agricultural organizations throughout the state will rally together in support... More >>
2 days ago Tuesday, April 16 2019 Apr 16, 2019 Tuesday, April 16, 2019 2:32:00 AM CDT April 16, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Gaelle Fournier, a current MU student from France, said she is devastated by the destruction of the fire... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:13:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City corrections officer is facing criticism for a Facebook post. The officer posted a... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Senate's education committee has started debate on letting public schools hold classes on the Bible and... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
GASCONADE- Authorities are trying to identify human remains found inside a barrel on the Gasconade River.  According to a... More >>
2 days ago Monday, April 15 2019 Apr 15, 2019 Monday, April 15, 2019 10:24:00 PM CDT April 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
10pm 51°
11pm 51°
12am 50°
1am 50°