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USGS: Road salt is contaminating waterways

Posted at 8:33 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 20:33:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- A government agency says road salt is contaminating drinking water. 

The U.S. Geological Survey says their data shows Fall Creek, Eagle Creek, Little Eagle Creek and even the White River all have elevated levels of chloride. That's what is found in road salt and those are some of the waterways drinking water is pulled from. 

PREVIOUS | Some believe road salt leads to unsafe drinking water

The Hoosier Environmental Council has said high levels of chloride can be corrosive to lead pipes, causing lead to seep into drinking water. 

It is, in part, what happened in Flint. Steve Corse, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey says since road salt dissolves in water, it cannot be removed. 

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Citizens Energy says while that is true, the natural buffers in our hard water prevent the corrosion of lead pipes. 

"It does provide a barrier against some of the corrosive effects that may be there with chloride," Citizens Energy Lab Manager Mark Gray said. 

Gray says our water and even the lead pipes in the 30,000 to 50,000 homes in Indianapolis are safe. 

From filtration to testing, the truth is always in the test tube. 

"There is always a concern for folks who have homes built before the 1950s, but in the city of Indianapolis we've been below the action level on all lead testing," Gray said.

DPW says they use road salt sparingly and they keep it stored in a covered salt barn to reduce environmental impact and save money. 

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