Thursday, May 30, 2024

New road salt reduction funding

man next to a brine sprayer

DEC opens funding for road salt reduction

Communities interested in reducing their road salt use will now have a new source of state funding to draw on.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation included new grants in its core funding programs that aim to support municipalities on their path to minimizing their road salt use.

The grants — through the state’s major water quality improvement program and a pollution control planning program — mark a step toward carrying out the recommendations in last year’s Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report.

Open to municipalities and Native American nations, the water quality program, which has funded construction of salt storage sheds in recent years, will now fund purchases of equipment critical to salt reduction practices. The other program will help communities to develop winter road management plans.

Equipment purchases can include better plow blades, brine-making equipment and GPS and other sensors used to monitor salt use and road conditions.

The program is open to communities statewide, but some scoring criteria could boost applications from Adirondack towns and counties. Applications are part of the state’s consolidated funding request due by July 31.

Read more here.

plow truck crosses Ausable River

A plow truck crossing the Ausable River near Jay. Explorer file photo by Brendan Wiltse.

DEC also took steps to carry out another task force recommendation: adopt a chloride water standard to protect aquatic life.

New York lags many other states in advancing a chloride standard, which has been recommended by the federal EPA since 1988. In other states, a chloride standard has pushed policymakers to adopt more aggressive salt reduction plans.

The task force proposed adopting the federal standard at a minimum and exploring ways to impose more stringent targets for sensitive Adirondack ecosystems.

State officials this month solicited public input into its triennial update of water standards. The call for public comments applies to any and all water standards in the state, but it will serve as an opportunity for Adirondack researchers to make the case for a chloride standard.

The Nature Conservancy’s Boquet River Nature Preserve

The Nature Conservancy’s Boquet River Nature Preserve. Photo by Zachary Matson.

This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Photo at top: Mike Farrell, Peru town highway supervisor, shows off a brine sprayer at the town’s garage. Photo by Zachary Matson.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

One Response

  1. Steven Frederick says:

    While addressing the salt damage to the ecosystem please address the fact that factory farms are dumping raw manure near brooks, streams and eventually into the lakes. Now this can contain E-Coli and now possibly bird flu. They are allowed to spread this near homes and wells. There are cases in the Midwest where people have been made very sick. Please don’t wait till people get sick or worse

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