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Randolph College Professor Featured Expert on WSET

Karin Warren discusses the environmental impact of snow removal chemicals and abrasives

1/28/2011 8:45:01 AM

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Lynchburg, VA - Most localities, including Lynchburg, use rock salt to melt the snow and ice off the roads so drivers can get to work, but there's a downside to that clear commute.

You've probably heard how the salt and sand can be corrosive to your vehicle. Local environmental experts also say it can affect the water you drink.

Once it leaves the roads, it eventually ends up in our area's creeks and streams.

"It eliminates habitats for creatures that live in the stream like macro invertebrates - little stream bugs that are an important part of the ecosystem in our streams. It also degrades the water quality the clarity, and it also means that our water treatment system has to work harder to remove all that," said Dr. Karin Warren, environmental studies professor at Randolph College.

There are some chemical mixtures that will melt ice that are biodegradable and better for the environment, but cost usually keeps localities from using them.



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