February 1, 2024
LAKE GEORGE — Road salt practices by NY State Department of Transportation (DOT) are “observably better” along a 17-mile stretch of Route 9N north of Lake George Village that has been part of a pilot program for reduced salt use since 2018, says Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky. “So far this winter I’ve noticed improved practices, such as increased brining and effective spot placement of salt on cold sections instead of widespread distribution.”
This is encouraging news given the findings released in the 2023 report by Jim Sutherland, Ph.D.; Chris Navitsky, P.E.; and Brea Ardivson, former LGA Water Quality Research Manager that evaluated the pilot program. Five years of water monitoring along the pilot area and analysis of DOT data revealed that decreased salt application rates by the DOT were offset by increased trips to salt roads. After reviewing local precipitation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration snowpack records, Navitsky says the winter severity did not support additional trips.
“The proof of improved practices this year will be in the LGA’s ongoing study of water quality,” says Navitsky, which is now in its sixth year. “If we get data from the DOT in the right way to match with our stream monitoring, we hope to see the results.”