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Can road salt contaminate drinking water? (Via WKYC3)

KENT, Ohio — For decades, salt has been used to treat roads as the go-to, de-icing method. However, research has shown over the years that road salt can be harmful to the environment.What about our drinking water?

Dr. Lauren Kinsman-Costello, an assistant biology professor at Kent State University, says she’s seen high levels of chloride from road salt in wetlands, streams and ponds in Portage and Cuyahoga counties."There's extra salt coming from somewhere,” she said. “A really big source is road salt usage in the winter."

Kinsman-Costello says the sodium and chloride from the road salt dissolves into the water, flowing into the nearby storm drains and spilling over into waterways, which include rivers and lakes."Salt isn't just washing away," she said.

In fact, the chloride is sticking around and it’s getting worse.More than 40 percent of urban streams in 19 northern states, including Ohio, showed elevated levels of chloride, according to a U.S Geological survey. The study said it was likely related to salt run off from road more.