Road Deicing & Storage

These include the use of herbicides in highway rights-of-ways, road deicing material, road salt anti-caking additives, road salt anticorrosives, and automotive wastes. Sources of contamination in road drainage include wet and dry deposition, soil erosion, street dirt and litter, and animal waste. Rainwater falling on paved surfaces may become contaminated with nutrients, metals, oils and grease, salts and volatile organic compounds that have accumulated there. Numerous studies have shown that metal (lead, copper, cadmium) loadings from paved surfaces are significant pollution sources. Pollution from bridge maintenance is compounded by the fact that, since bridges are generally located over surface-water bodies, there is little opportunity for pollution attenuation to take place before runoff washes into water.

Groundwater and surface water contamination from road deicing application and storage occurs when the salt dissolves in precipitation and either infiltrates though topsoil into the water table or runs off into surface water. This can effect water quality including elevation of chloride levels. Municipal road maintenance and deicing storage operations include storage and spreading. Important storage considerations include type of material, and type of storage. Most of the material used in the watershed is sand and salt. However, some municipalities use other materials such as cinders, IceBan, and calcium chloride. In the Cayuga Lake Watershed 58% (29) of deicing material is stored in enclosed facilities. The rest (42%, 21) is stored in the open. Sixty-two percent (31) of deicing material is stored on concrete, asphalt, shale or pavement. The rest (38%, 19) is stored on the ground. Important spreading considerations include ingredient ratio, amount per road mile, and total amount per season, and total road miles. The average total amount of deicing material spread in the Cayuga Lake Watershed exceeds 30,000 tons per year (Table 3.11.1).

As Table 3.11.1 indicates road maintenance and deicing storage operations are widely dispersed throughout the watershed with the largest pocket of density at the southern end of the lake around the City of Ithaca. Other smaller pockets include the area near the Village of Trumansburg and the area associated with the Village of Freeville and Dryden. All of these are close to tributaries. In the case of the City of Ithaca, road deicing storage is close to the lake itself, however deicing material is stored in enclosed facilities. This is the case in all but one facility in the area around Trumansburg, Freeville, and Dryden. Other storage of concern is in the Village of Aurora, Town of Springport, Town of Covert, and the Town of Danby. These are all open storage piles. The Village of Aurora storage is close to the lake. The others are close to tributaries of the lake including the Town of Danby’s storage near the Cayuga Inlet.

See also:

Return to Stormwater Management & Erosion Control

Last Revised 6-28-01

< <


To contact the Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization.

or email

CLW IO 2004