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Water Systems Essay

900 words - 4 pages

I strongly believe that Torontonians should not be allowed to salt the roads and sidewalks in the winter months due to the detrimental impacts that effects the economy, the environment, and our health. Road salt leaves its footprints in our soil, our plants and trees, our wildlife and aquatic animals, our structures and vehicles, and most importantly, the water we drink every day. The question I ask of you today is how effective is salt? A study by Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin found that roads salted actually reduced crashes by 88%, injuries by 85% and accidents costs by 85%. Salt has many advantages such as increasing road safety, however, its effectiveness depends on ...view middle of the document...

Since road salt is sodium chloride, once it is put into water, it will dissolve, and the sodium chloride particles will split apart and form sodium and chloride ions. Through salting the roads, chloride ions can accelerate corrosion, penetrate and deteriorate concrete on bridges and roads, and may even cause extreme damages to cars by rusting it through repeated exposure to salt.
Another malignant aftermath of road salt is the damage it does to our aquatic and terrestrial biospheres. It is commonly believed that once the salt is dissolved into snow/ice, it will decay or breakdown with the ice/snow and eventually evaporate with it. However, this is a myth. Salt will not decay or breakdown but instead it will dissolve into the snow and then leech into the soil and impacting it in various ways such as, causing soil depletion, changing the soil’s permeability which causes the soil to become impervious and blocks water infiltration, reducing soil stability, and decreasing the pH level of the soil.
Furthermore, through leeching of the soil, high concentrations of sodium and chloride ions will contaminate our groundwater and eventually end up in our drinking water since salt cannot be removed by natural reveal methods and dilution can reduce its concentration. Contaminations of sodium and chloride ions in drinking water is a concern for individuals with low-sodium diets due to high blood pressure. Road salt can also effect wildlife in different was, especially birds since they can mistake road salt for grit or seeds.
Although salting roads during winter is imminent, there are better solutions for clearing roads that benefit both the environment and...

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