Study: Salt levels in U.S. rivers becoming dangerous

American Rivers annually publishes a list of the 10 most at-risk rivers in the U.S.

Many of the nation’s rivers and streams have levels of salt that are becoming dangerous, posing a threat to drinking water sources, infrastructure, and marine ecosystems and organisms of all kinds, according to a study published Monday, Jan. 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Some of the major changes in salinity were noted in waterways that supply drinking water to major cities, like the Hudson, Potomac and Mississippi rivers.

Solutions include moving away from salting roads, better land management and reducing agricultural fertilizers in streams.

The study comes from five decades of data from 232 U.S. Geological Survey monitoring sites.

Sources of salinity vary by region, but researchers saw a nationwide increase. Much of the salt in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast comes from roads and sidewalks, where salt is sprinkled during the winter.

— Greenwire

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