Bill Memo: Reducing Road Salt in NYC Watershed
This bill establishes a road salt reduction task force, pilot plan and test program in the East of Hudson watershed.
This legislation creates a road salt reduction task force to produce a report on the impacts of road salt contamination of water supplies and recommendations for better road management practices that reduce the use of salt. Using this report, the Departments of Transportation, Health, and Environmental Conservation will conduct a three-year pilot program to test best management practices and road salt reduction targets in the East of Hudson watershed, which provides drinking water for New York City and parts of Westchester County.
Road salt runoff can enter our waterways and leach into groundwater, polluting nearby private wells and other drinking water sources. A 2018 study discovered that more than half of wells sampled in East Fishkill, New York exceeded US EPA health standards for sodium. Elevated levels of sodium were associated with a well’s closeness to roads and high amounts of nearby pavement. These links raise concerns about road salt contamination of the Croton Reservoir System in Westchester County, which is surrounded by roadways and development.
In addition to the health risks from sodium, chloride from road salt can corrode metals and damage household plumbing. There are an estimated 360,000 lead pipes still present across New York State, and corrosion of these pipes can cause lead levels to skyrocket in drinking water.
While this bill seeks to address salt contamination at a regional scale, we would like to see strategic recommendations regarding road salt reduction statewide to ensure all New Yorkers are protected from this contaminant in our waterways and drinking water sources.
Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial
Memo #: 40