Virgnia program finds new ways to prevent winter salt runoff in the Accotink Creek


The Accotink Creek had its first recorded levels of sodium from winter salt back in 2017. (Christy Matino/WDVM)

VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Sodium chloride runoff in Virginia water is nothing new, but when salt from winter ice was detected in the Accotink Creek for the first time in 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) decided to take action.

They created the Salt Management Strategy to help save aquatic life and prevent the salt from entering drinking water.

“There’s also some impact for salt-restricted diets,” said Will Isenberg, TMDL Coordinator at the DEQ. “Having salt in the water means they have to maybe, for a period of time, get water from a different source.”

Some of the ideas are new ways to report how much salt is applied, substitutes for typical ice melting salts, and informing the public of ways to properly use winter salt on their properties.

While the salt was found in the Accotink, researchers say the problem extends into other bodies of water — not just in Virginia, but across the nation.

The DEQ is scheduled to release a final toolkit or document on how to prevent runoff by the end of the year or early 2021.

Once the toolkit is released, the DEQ plans to monitor the sodium levels and see if the new implemented ideas are working.

You can find updates on the Salt Management Strategy here.


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