Road Salt is Turning North America’s Freshwater Lakes into Saltwater – VICE
In a recent study examining the scale of freshwater lake salinization in North America, Scientists from the University of Wisconsin found that lakes near any kind of impervious surface— “as little as one road,” limnologist and lead author Hilary Dugan told Motherboard over the phone—are at high risk of becoming too salinized within the next 50 years for either freshwater life or human use. This includes 27 percent of all large lakes in the US.
The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dugan’s team looked at 371 freshwater lakes across North America—284 of which are in the Northeast and Midwest US, and Ontario, Canada. Road salt has been dumped heavily in these areas since the 1940s—5 million metric tons a year in Canada between 1999 and 2001, and almost 18 million metric tons a year in the US by the 1990s.