Northeastern Section (45th Annual) and Southeastern Section (59th Annual) Joint Meeting (13-16 March 2010)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:35 PM


NIELSON, Adam, Geology, Bates College, 600 Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240,

Road salt application to roads in northern states, provinces and mountainous areas is a common practice for deicing. Unfortunately melt season runoff from salt snow banks has impacts on adjacent aquatic environments by contaminating both ground water and surface water (Meriano, 2009). This study investigates these effects by focusing on a local pond in White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire. A major highway passes through the vast watershed on the Southern side of Lily Pond providing an inevitable source of road salt into the ground and surface water entering the lake throughout the year. The main question powering this study investigates how the intensity of the road salt used throughout seasonal changes and specific weather events affects the salinity of the lake over time. This research will hopefully find a correlation or various patterns over the last four years regarding the salinity of Lily Pond and the long term affects on the watershed and snow melt from the intensive seasonal road salt application. In order to obtain water column data, field monitoring will consist of water profiles, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and pH levels, through the utilization of a hydro lab and a conductivity logger throughout the year. Information about the ground water entering from the road will be obtained by monitoring two wells dug between the road and the lake. A time lapse camera is placed across the lake from the road in order to be able to relate weather events to the accumulation of plowed snow on the side of the road throughout the winter snow season. Finally winter snow collection from the snow banks on the side of the road will be collected to be further analyzed in the laboratory for salt concentrations. Previous studies on high mountainous lakes, including Lily Pond, have shown a direct correlation between the amount of snow run-off and higher conductivity measurements throughout the water column. This helps to support the various hypotheses of the effects of road salt on natural mountain lakes. Data taken from Lily Pond over the past three to five years will show either a negative or positive trend between the average temperature, average conductivity and amount of applied road salt and their effect on the water column.