Groundwater Contamination by Road Salt: Steady-State Concentrations in East Central Massachusetts

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Science  21 Apr 1972:
Vol. 176, Issue 4032, pp. 288-290
DOI: 10.1126/science.176.4032.288


The average steady-state contamination of groundwater by road salt in the suburban area around Boston, on the assumption that current rates of application of salt will continue, is about 160 milligrams of sodium chloride per liter of water (100 milligrams of chloride per liter). This value is compared with values of 50 to 100 milligrams of chloride per liter found rather commonly now in town wells in eastern Massachusetts. These salt concentrations may be of concern to persons on low-sodium diets and to persons who obtain water from wells in the vicinity of major highways where salt concentrations could be several times higher than average.

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