The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP21) has announced awardees of its 2017-18 Community Grants Program as part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to continue improving the health and environmental quality of New York state. NYSP2I is sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Environmental Protection Fund and led by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability.
AdkAction’s proposal “Road Salt Pollution Prevention in the Adirondacks” was one of only 10 projects in the state chosen to receive funding after the completion of a competitive review process. The Community Grants Program provides nonprofit organizations and local governments both financial and technical assistance for projects that promote and implement pollution-prevention practices at the community level.
Each year, over 190,000 tons of road salt are applied to roadways in the Adirondacks. This poses a threat to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, water quality, and the safety of drinking water.
AdkAction Executive Director Brittany Christenson noted, “We know that there is no practical way to remove chloride from our lakes, rivers, and streams, and yet we are still adding tens of thousands of tons of road salt to the Adirondack environment each year. Preventing further pollution is the only way forward, and that’s why we are thrilled to receive this pollution prevention funding from NYSPP2I.” She added, “We look forward to delivering the most practical and feasible-to-implement solutions available to help municipal and county highway departments reduce dependence on road salt.”
AdkAction will use the funds to create and distribute the “Road Map to Reduce Road Salt,” a guide to the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of road salt with recommendations for pollution prevention. The non-profit will ask municipalities in the Adirondacks to sign a “Best Practices for Sustainable Salt Use” memorandum of understanding (MOU), and hold an Adirondack-wide Salt Summit in partnership with The FUND for Lake George. The 2017 Salt Summit will provide a forum for all stakeholders to hear from watershed researchers, watch industry professionals perform equipment demonstrations, and learn from case studies of areas that have significantly reduced their dependence on road salt, as well as to recognize those municipalities who sign the MOU in an awards ceremony at the Summit.
AdkAction has been addressing road salt pollution since 2011. Efforts have included hosting Road Salt Conferences in 2011, 2012, and 2014, working with NYDOT to establish 4 road salt testing areas, and achieving a 30% reduction in road salt application per pass in the test areas. AdkAction also administers a road salt working group designed to engage stakeholders in identifying gaps in knowledge of road salt impacts and evaluate safe and effective alternatives that will lead to a reduction in the use of road salt.
Executive Director, AdkAction.org