Colleges Working Hard To Combat Environmental Damage Caused By Road Salt

Colleges in cold weather states across the country are working diligently to find new, environmentally safe ways to use salt on winter roads covered in ice and snow.

Scientist are becoming more concerned over the damage potentially being caused to the planet as a result the constant use of road salts over the last several decades.

Washing State University associate professor in civil and environment engineering, Xianming Shi, is one of the researchers working hard on this issue. Shi says, “We are kind of salt addicted…as it’s been so cheap and convenient for the last 50 years.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation is working with the WSU and surrounding colleges to find a green solution to the need for rough weather road treatments. The roads in the United States are notoriously dangerous during the winter months with more than 116,000 people injured and upwards of 1,300 people killed as a result of bad weather and poor road conditions.

The deicing chemicals in the salt is a leading issue with the work being done to change the products being used salt roads. Shi is putting a lot of energy into finding and creating new deicers that are more environmentally friendly.

Shi says, “There is a lot of talk about beet and tomato juice deicers that are to be less corrosive to vehicles, guard rails, steel bridges and concrete pavement. They help, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.”

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