LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Winter 2018

LOCALadk Magazine

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Winter 2018 LOCALadk Magazine 23 LOCALadk other infrastructure also suffer and cost taxpayer's money to replace. The less obvious effects of road salt are on the environ- ment. The Adirondack Watershed Institute's (AWI) research has documented regional salinization of surface waters in the Adirondacks as a result of the application of salt to the road network in the park. Their research points to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) as be- ing the primar y culprit. They apply roughly three-times as much salt per mile of road as do local towns and villages. Mirror Lake in the Village of Lake Placid is perhaps the most impacted lake from road salt in the Adirondack Park. This small lake is often referred to as the "gem of Lake Plac- id," and ser ves as a focal point for the community. After more than a centur y of growth, 34% of the land area of its watershed is developed, with much of that focused around the lake itself. The headwaters of its small watershed origi- nate on the shoulders of Cobble Hill and Mount Whitney, and are mostly forested. But with the urban development around the lake comes roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. These im- permeable surfaces drain into a stormwater system that dis- charges directly to the lake. As winter snows fall, many of those surfaces are treated with road salt. As the salt does its job, melting snow and ice, the runoff enters the stormwater system and flows directly into the lake. Research conducted by the Ausable River As- sociation (AsR A) and AWI have documented concentrations of chloride as high as 2,400 mg/L flowing into the lake. As a point of reference, unimpacted Adirondack streams have a median chloride concentration of 0.24 mg/L . Most con- cerning though, is that this far exceeds both the chronic and acute toxicity thresholds for aquatic life set by the En- vironmental Protection Agency, which are 230 mg/L and 860 mg/L, respectively. The Acid Rain Of Our Time

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