PartnershipIn 2022, UT, TMACOG, and PCS began a project to help communities adjust road salt methods while reducing its harmful impacts on water. From local research to public education workshops, we’ve got project progress to share!

Ohio EPA awarded the University of Toledo a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant, with TMACOG and PCS, to better understand current conditions of urban streams in our area and make recommendations on how to reduce road salt pollution. Worldwide freshwater is becoming saltier and that changes the type and health of fish and macroinvertebrates that can thrive here. Locally we wanted to dig deeper and start making changes to better support aquatic life.

The first phase focuses on developing a chloride reduction plan, and all three partners have important parts. In broad terms, UT will focus on the chloride sampling and science side of things; TMACOG will identify specific equipment upgrades and new policies or practices to reduce salt pollution; and PCS will help coordinate project implementation plans with other organizations and government agencies and identify funding pathways.

This year, the UT team made significant progress on chloride data collection and analysis in our region. They began by analyzing historical chloride data and then began conducting new sampling of over fifty sites across Northwest Ohio waterways. They used this data to create maps of chloride concentrations and potential areas in need of reduction. They targeted multiple rounds of sampling in the most impacted waterways, and used this information to identify potential sources of chloride within these areas.

The project partners hosted a workshop for public works and road maintenance staff in October 2022. There, speakers went into detail on why salt management matters and how it can be done to not only help the environment, but also to help municipalities save money on the cost of salt itself and in turn, reducing the issues salt and cause for infrastructure and vehicles. You can learn more about the material covered in that workshop here.