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Road Salt as a Water Quality Issue

This summary was written by Mark Southerland for the Howard County Environmental Sustainability Board.

road saltWe are all familiar with the use of road salt to melt ice and snow from paved roadways in the winter. There are a variety of deicer products, but the vast majority of what is used is common table salt—sodium chloride (Na-Cl). Road salt improves tire adherence to the pavement, greatly increasing vehicle safety, but has adverse effects on property and the environment beyond the road surface.

The types and extent of these adverse effects are becoming clearer through recent (more…)

When Parking Lots Help To Restore Our World

unnamed (2)When you go shopping next, check out the parking lots. How are they designed? Do they just flush all the rainfall right into a storm drain which then empties directly into a stream or lake? Or do they capture the water and allow it to filter back into the ground to recharge the groundwater table and restore our streams?

I recently visited (more…)

Where I went this summer – A guest post by Tim Bechtel

In addition to the need for all of us to take an interest in restoring our favorite places, it will be increasingly important for good science to be done to understand these natural system so we know what to do. Here is a good example of scientists and students studying an area in order to recommend to citizens and governments alike on what we can do to help restore the area’s groundwater. 

The Gottesacker (God’s Acre) Plateau on the border of Austria and Germany

by Tim Bechtel, Prof. of Geoscience at Franklin & Marshall College

alps 2The Gottesacker (God’s Acre) Plateau on the border of Austria and Germany is a very high alpine karst (limestone) terrane. It receives abundant rainfall, but is a rocky desert because the water soaks right in and flows underground in a system of caves and conduits, to emerge in large springs in the Kleinwalsertal valley below. Because the water soaks in and flows to the springs very rapidly there is little opportunity for the (more…)