Road Salt in Surface Water

How Road Salt Can Affect the Water Supply

Before it snows, departments in charge of maintaining roads and parking lots often lay salt as a safety precaution. When that snow melts, the salt flows with the melted snow and can eventually make its way to nearby rivers and streams.

If these rivers and streams are the source of drinking water supplies, customers may notice a salty taste to their water.

Is my water safe to drink?
Your water continues to meet all health-based primary drinking water standards. The higher concentrations of sodium and chloride that we are experiencing do not pose a human health concern for most individuals. For most, the sodium intake from water does not pose a health concern. However, customers with health questions—and those on a sodium-restricted diet— are encouraged to contact their physicians.

Can you doing anything at the treatment plants to lower the levels of salt in the water?
Sodium and chloride are not typically removed by common water treatment processes.

Are sodium and chloride levels regulated?
No. At present there are no health-based Primary Drinking Water Standards for sodium or chloride under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

What are you doing to promote more environmentally-friendly means of salting roads?
SUEZ North America is working to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of road salting. We work with organizations dedicated to finding less environmentally impactful means of road maintenance and work directly with municipalities, contractors and departments of public works to discuss alternatives to road salting.