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Introduction How Rivers Run Stories Value Of A River What We Can Do
Quality of a River - Water Quality
Contaminants: Toxins (pg 3 of 8)

Road salts-commonly sodium chloride mixed with cyanide compounds as an anti-caking agent-are widespread contaminants. Highway departments throughout the United States apply some 10 million tons of road salt each year. Minnesota alone applies more than 200,000 tons. Runoff from heavily traveled roads raises salinity in nearby streams. When cyanide compounds break down, they form free cyanide, a potent poison.

The greatest problems, according to research by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, may stem not from runoff from road applications, but runoff from poorly managed stockpiles of road salt stored by highway departments near surface waters.

Download more information at
ftp://files.pca.state.mn.us/pub

(Environment Canada, 2001)


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