Study of De-icing Salt Accumulation and Transport Through a Watershed

The accumulation of chloride in surface waters and groundwater from road deicing and other sources is a growing problem in northern cities of the U.S., including the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. To inform mitigation efforts, the transport of chloride in surface waters of a metro-area watershed (Lake McCarrons) was studied in this project to characterize chloride transport by surface runoff, the residence time of chloride in surface water, and how variations in weather influence chloride transport and accumulation processes. Monitoring work over three winters showed that the residence time of chloride in small, sewered watersheds varied from 14 to 26 days, depending on winter weather conditions, with 37 to 63% of chloride applied as de-icers exported in snowmelt and rainfall surface runoff. In contrast, a monitored highway ditch exported less than 5% of chloride applied to the adjacent road. Stormwater detention ponds were found to act as temporary storage for chloride, with persistent layers of high chloride content at the bottom. Chloride monitoring data and runoff simulations were used to explore the possibility of snowmelt capture as a chloride pollution mitigation strategy. The authors found that capturing snowmelt runoff close to source areas (roads and parking lots) yields the highest chloride concentrations and removal potential.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

    St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, 2 Third Avenue SE
    Minneapolis, MN  United States  55414

    Minnesota Department of Transportation

    Minnesota Local Road Research Board
    Research Services & Library, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 330
    St. Paul, MN  United States  55155-1899
  • Authors:
    • Herb, William
    • Janke, Ben
    • Stefan, Heinz
  • Publication Date: 2017-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 128p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01659811
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MN/RC 2017 - 50, CTS #2015003
  • Contract Numbers: (c) 99008 (wo) 146
  • Created Date: Feb 1 2018 2:20PM