While our focus at Heidelberg Farms is organic lawncare, we are passionate about anything that helps the environment and take great interest whenever there’s a discussion about switching over from harmful chemicals to organic products.
There is a growing conversation about road salt’s impact on the environment and the use of organic alternatives.
Here in New England, we’re all familiar with road salt. It makes the roads ‘drivable’ in tough winter conditions but can wreak havoc with our lawns and vehicles.
The Associated Press recently reported that some experts fear that road salt is starting to take a toll on the nation’s waterways and putting ecosystems at risk.
Research on the risks of road salt include experiments at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that found higher salt concentrations reduced growth rates in rainbow trout and decreased the abundance of zooplankton (tiny animals or larvae that are critical to the aquatic food chain and play a role in keeping lakes and streams clean).
Other studies have shown that salinization of lakes and streams reduces the numbers of fish and amphibians, kills off plants, and alters the diversity of these freshwater ecosystems, the AP reported.
Public works officials in New Hampshire and other states don’t think road salt will ever be replaced but the environmental concerns have at least started conversations about spreading salt more efficiently and using liquefied organic additives that help salt stick to the pavement, preventing it from washing away immediately.
In addition, agencies from New Jersey to North Dakota are using a mixture that includes beet juice, while New Hampshire and Maine use a mixture with molasses and other states use beer paste, and pickle and cheese brine.
Who knows what the future holds for road salt but any conversation about organic alternatives is always a worthy one to have. All of these environmental concerns are interconnected and deserve our attention.
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