Runoff a concern as snow begins to melt across Maryland

As temperatures begin to rise and rain moves into the area, the piles of snow are starting to melt.

The problem is a lot of that snow is loaded with salt and ice melt used to clear roads and sidewalks, and as it all melts that stuff is carried right into the bay and its tributaries.

The State Highway Administration has put almost a million pounds of salt on Maryland's roadways this winter. Scott Stranko is a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. He says that salt going into the bay is not that bad of a problem. The bay water is already brackish; it already has a lot of salt in it.

“The biggest problem is fresh water streams,” said Stranko, who added salt can also negatively impact certain animals, vegetation and sea creatures.

Run off from the snow can impact ground water also and very time we apply salt to the roads it can add up.

“It can take decades to be flushed out of ground water,” Stranko said. “Of course ground water during slow flow periods makes up most of the surface water in some ponds and streams and reservoirs.”

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