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LETTER: Salt City

To the editor:

Salting walkways and roads is a common practice in Central New York during our harsh winter months — however, this salt can cause damaging effects to pets, local fauna and vegetation. Currently in CNY we primarily use calcium chloride deicer on our roads but others forms such as sodium chloride are often found in our household deicers.

In Onondaga County alone there’s upwards of 50,000 tons of deicers used each year on the roadways. While the deicer does help melt the hazardous snow and ice, it also leaks into the surrounding ecosystem. The leakage has been proven to adversely affect local terrestrial and aquatic fauna as well as the surrounding vegetation, causing their roots and foliage to burn.

With regards to our household salts and deicers, it’s important to note that certain salts pose significant risks to our beloved pets. Ingestion is one of the most significant risks either through eating the deicer itself or from ingesting contaminated snow/ice. Deicers also can cause corrosion of the soft pads on cat’s and dog’s paws.

Certain deicers have proven to effectively reduce traveling risks for humans — however they have and do cause damage to fauna and vegetation. It’s important that deicing methods are carried out with the upmost care, especially in Onondaga County and the Finger Lakes. In order to protect our pets, plants and environment, we should all encourage only salting when necessary and increasing precision of deicing distribution methods.

Timothy P. McNaney

Graduate Candidate

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

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