USGS

 

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Shallow Unconsolidated Aquifers in Ohio—Final Report

By Allison E. Kunze and Bernard N. Sroka

 

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5150

 

Prepared in cooperation with the
Ohio Department of Transportation and the
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

 

This report is available as a pdf.


Abstract

As a result of concerns about salt intrusion into drinking water aquifers, the effects of highway deicing chemicals on shallow aquifers were studied at eight locations in Ohio from 1988 through 2002. The study was done by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Sites were selected along major undivided highways where drainage is by open ditches and ground-water flow is approximately perpendicular to the highway. Records of deicer application rates were kept, and apparent movement of deicing chemicals through shallow, unconsolidated aquifers was monitored by means of periodic measurements of specific conductance and concentrations of dissolved sodium, calcium, and chloride. The State routes monitored were the following: State Route (SR) 3 in Ashland County, SR 84 in Ashtabula County, SR 29 in Champaign County, SR 4 in Clark County, SR 2 in Lucas County, SR 104 in Pickaway County, SR 14 in Portage County, and SR 97 in Richland County.

The study began in 1988 with background data collection, extensive literature review, and site selection. This process, including drilling of wells at numerous test sites and the eight selected sites, lasted 3 years. Routine groundwater sampling at 4- to 6-week intervals began in January 1991 and continued through September 1999. A multilevel, passive flow ground-water sampling device was constructed and used. Other conditions monitored on a regular basis included ground-water level (monitored continuously), specific conductance, air and soil temperature, precipitation,chloride concentration in soil samples, and deicing-chemical application times and rates.

Evidence from water analysis, specific-conductance measurements, and surface-geophysical measurements indicates that three of the eight sites (Ashtabula County, Lucas County, and Portage County sites) were affected by direct application of deicing chemicals. Climatic data collected during the study show that cold weather, and therefore deicing-chemical application rates, varied from south to north across the State. As a consequence, only minor traces of dissolved chloride (mean, 24–43 mg/L (milligrams per liter)) above background concentrations (mean, 13–23 mg/L) were determined in ground-water samples from the southernmost sites (approximately 3930' to 40 N latitude—Champaign County, Clark County, and Pickaway County). At the Ashland and Richland County sites (approximately 4030' N latitude), dissolved-chloride concentrations increased above background concentrations only intermittently (mean background concentrations 4–41 mg/L, rising to a mean of 40–56 mg/L in downgradient wells). At the northernmost sites (41 30' to 42 N latitude—Lucas County, Portage County, and Ashtabula County), deicing-chemical application was consistent throughout the winter, and downgradient dissolved-chloride concentrations (mean, 124–345 mg/L) rarely returned to background concentrations (mean, 7–37 mg/L) throughout the study period.

Other factors than application rate that may affect the movement of deicing chemicals through an aquifer were precipitation amounts, the types of subsurface materials, ground-water velocity and gradient, hydraulic conductivity, soil type, land use, and Ohio Department of Transportation deicing priority.

CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Previous Investigations

Deicing Chemicals

Methods of Investigation

Site Selection

Geophysical Tests

Test Drilling and Well Installation

Data Collection

Deicing Material Application Data

Water-Quality Data

Multilevel Dialysis Sample

Multilevel Tube Sampler

Sampling Frequency and Procedures

Physical Data

Aquifer Materials

Aquifer Properties

Soils Data

Temporal Data

Climatic Data

Quality Assurance

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Shallow Unconsolidated Aquifers, by Site . . . . . . . .

Ashland County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Ashtabula County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Champaign County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Clark County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Lucas County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Pickaway County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Portage County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Richland County Site

Site Characteristics

Climate

Hydrogeology

Effects of Highway Deicing Chemicals on Water Quality

Field-Monitored Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Air and Soil Temperature

Laboratory-Determined Characteristics

Specific Conductance

Chloride Concentration

Sodium Concentration

Calcium Concentration

Summary

Acknowledgments

Selected References

Appendix

 

 


Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

 

Copies of this report can be purchased from:

 

U.S. Geological Survey

Branch of Information Services

Box 25286

Denver, CO 80225-0286

 

Telephone: 1-888-ASK-USGS

World Wide Web: http://www.usgs.gov

 

For more information about USGS activities in Ohio, visit the USGS Ohio District home page.


This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

 

Download the text of the report (PDF, 15.3 MB)

Cover 1 (PDF, 542KB)

Cover 2 (PDF, 421KB)

Cover 4 (PDF, 456KB)

 

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 5.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL: http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir20045150
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Last modified: Thursday, January 10 2013, 06:35:17 PM
FirstGov button  Take Pride in America button