Research Webinar: Salt of the Earth - Vermont's Hidden Pollution Problem

In this 2020 video, Rebecca Tharp (Founder/ Scientist, Just Water Consulting, LLC) and Dana Allen (Principal, Fluid State Consulting, LLC) discuss results from monitoring the movement of salts from the Vermont Railway’s Shelburne Transload Facility in the river, wetland, soils, and vegetation at two discharge points from the site as well as a control point that receives no flow from the parcel.

Road deicing salts are impacting freshwater ecosystems worldwide, and centralized road salt distribution and storage facilities are loosely regulated and poorly understood.

The researchers found that the facility is routinely exporting salt at levels that exceed Vermont Water Quality Standards. Proper selection of monitoring point locations and media (water, soil, vegetation) is critical for identifying exceedances to water quality standards in a timely fashion. The findings are described in the article "Assessment of deicing salt storage and distribution as a salinization point source: the influence of permitting standards on water" in the journal Environmental Systems Research.