Each winter, the Chicago region uses more than 270,000 tons of road salt to control ice on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks. While maintaining public safety is absolutely necessary, the amount of salt used is excessive and is polluting our drinking water. Salt concentrations in groundwater have been rapidly rising across the Chicago region since the 1960s.
The Northwest Water Planning Alliance (NWPA) is urging municipalities, private contractors, and homeowners to reduce use of road salt to reduce the contamination entering our river and groundwater resources. As a coalition of local and county governments that includes more than 80 communities in the Chicago region, the NWPA was formed to protect the shared water resources to ensure a sustainable water supply. “I commend our members who are actively working to reduce the use of road salt and protect our drinking water,” said Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and NWPA Chairman, “and encourage more communities to join us and save money at the same time.”