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An Economic Analysis Of The Environmental Impact Of Highway Deicing, Final.

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This study involves an analysis of the cost of damages that result from the use of salt (sodium chloride and calcium chloride) on highways to melt snow and ice. A large literature search and several surveys were carried out in order to determine the types and extent of damages that have occurred. The report contains over 320 references.
An in-depth analysis was performed on all of the data obtained. The major cost sectors examined were: Water supplies and health, vegetation, highway structures, vehicles and utilities. For each of the sectors a cost estimate was developed. The total annual national cost of salt related damage approaches $3 billion dollars or about 15 times the annual national cost for salt purchase and application. While the largest costs result from damage to vehicles, the most serious damage seems to be the pollution of water supplies and the degradation of health which may result. It is particularly difficult to assign costs in this latter area and therefore the estimate may substantially understate the actual indirect costs to society.
These findings indicate that the level of salt use should be reduced. The amount of the reduction should be determined on the basis of local conditions.

Reference #:
EPA Office:
Office of Research and Development
Office Suboffice:
Water Engineering Research Laboratory
Office Division:
Wastewater Research Division
EPA Author:
Document Type:
Economic Impact Assessment
Abt Associates, Inc.
Document Status:

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