We want to thank Dr. William Cromartie for granting a brief interview regarding the potential impacts of using sodium chloride as a deicing and anti-icing compound on campus.

But I left the interview with more questions than answers. I came away with a renewed sense of frustration; humans continue to destroy the very ecosystems we need for our own survival.

We have grasped for a new straw that we call sustainability; and this is the final  straw.  Readers,  in 2003, Atlantic County Executive, Dennis Levinson appointed Dr. Cromartie and others to the Atlantic Country Groundwater Advisory Council. Whatever happened to this council? What do they do? What did they do? This is altogether another subject.

My questions for this interview were few, direct and Dr. Cromartie’s answers were short and evasive. He told me that he is not an expert in this matter. I should be speaking to someone who knows more about the subject than he does. What he did say was, “I have not seen any real impacts in surface water.”

There is a significant dilution factor;  he did not elaborate. Most of us have heard that dilution is the solution to pollution. The pollution problems result when chemicals accumulate in the soil and waters but there is not enough scientific evidence to prove this occurs in the environment nor is there a political interest in it.

In New Jersey, there is insufficient scientific interest or evidence available to make scientific statements pertaining to the effects of deicing and anti-icing compounds on water quality. We are aware of significant salt water intrusion in coastal regions where fresh water wells become contaminated by saline water. This is not from the effects of sodium chloride storage but a hydraulic phenomenon which occurs when fresh water is extracted faster than recharged. The fresh water is simply replaced by more saline water. There are few inland areas in the region where localized groundwater is contaminated with sodium chloride from poor storm water management.

This is the probable cause of  of salt dome construction in the 1980’s; to eliminate or reduce the potential for groundwater contamination. This interview sparked extensive research into this problem. The Bookmark Section along the right hand column of this blog contains the results of this research effort into the use and environmental effects of sodium chloride on the environment. The alternatives are not much better! The alternative substances increase the cost for deicing and anti-icing.