Salt Concentrations in Rivers and Streams Found to be Increasing

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found increasing salt concentrations in most U.S rivers and streams. Increased salt concentrations create a health risk for some consumers, as well as potentially creating a risk for increased corrosion for water treatment and distribution systems.

The researchers used 50 years of data from 232 U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) to show the trends of increasing salinity in rivers and streams. In addition, some of the rivers and streams became more alkaline. Road salt was identified as one source of these trends, but it’s not the only source as other sources such as mining waste and the weathering of concrete can also contribute to these trends. More research is needed to understand the magnitude of potential impacts to water supplies, but this issue certainly warrants additional attention.