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North America’s Freshwater Lakes are Getting Saltier
Road salt is making North America’s freshwater lakes saltier, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted by a team of 15 researchers with the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) Fellow Program – Including University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology post-doctoral researcher, Hilary Dugan – found that many of the 371 lakes tested are experiencing increased chloride trends and 44 percent are undergoing long-term salinization.

Since the 1940s, road salt has been used to keep winter roads navigable by melting away snow and ice. Today, some 23 million metric tons of sodium-chloride-based deicer is applied to North America’s roads each year. Much of this road salt washes into nearby water bodies, where it is recognized as a major source of chloride pollution to groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes. Its use has increased over time.



 
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