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Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of Potassium Acetate Used as a Road Salt Alternative (University of Minnesota)

Status:  Active
Project Start Date:  08/07/2019

Summary:

This project will evaluate the environmental impacts of potassium acetate (KAc) used as a road salt alternative. Chloride-based salts have been used for decades in Minnesota as an effective snow and ice management technique for winter roads, parking lots and sidewalks. Although an effective deicer, chloride-based salts have negative environmental consequences, including corrosiveness to steel, the elevation of chloride levels in nearby water bodies and the breakdown of soil. This project will involve the collection of field samples of meltwater and road runoff at various locations to determine levels of KAc and dissolved oxygen (DO) so that the impact of KAc on biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) may be investigated. Also, through new experimental work, the toxicity of KAc to aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna at the observed concentrations will be investigated. Finally, the project will model the fate of KAc as it leaves the roadway in stormwater runoff or snow melt and is conveyed across soil and into receiving water bodies.

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