Title: Beyond Chloride: Quantifying localized impacts of road salts on urban waters

Authors: Rebecca Kauten*, University of Iowa
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Environmental Science, Natural Resources
Keywords: Water resources, water quality, monitoring
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This proposal aims to quantify impacts as a result of winter road maintenance and subsequent salinization. Specifically, linkages to metal mobilization are examined.

Surface waters in North America are becoming saline, often due to winter road maintenance. While salinization comes with its own environmental and human health concerns, a greater issue is how salinized freshwater can alter conditions for other pollutants, such as metals. The presence of salts at increased concentrations may likely indicate higher concentrations of other serious pollutants in freshwater systems.

If local data indicate relationships between chloride and metal mobilization, salts may be the least of our concerns. However, they may serve as indicators of larger problems.

This proposal quantifies localized magnitude, spatial and temporal impacts of salinization on urban streams. Recent publications from USGS and the National Academies of Science indicate a national trend of increased freshwater salinization and corrosiveness. In both instances, research gaps are noted regarding further characterization at varying scales.

In my proposal, local data is compared to USGS data over spatial and temporal scales in order to: 1) Quantify the relationship between chloride concentrations and metals. 2) Test the strength of relationships across spatial and temporal scales. 3} Estimate a localized environmental impact of current and future conditions.

The working hypotheses assume smaller urban streams experience higher concentrations of chloride; heavily urbanized areas also experience metal mobilization due to transportation surfaces; and trends are increasing over time in all cold-climate cities.

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