In the Vermillion River Watershed, we’ve improved our water quality over the past 13 years by diverting wastewater away from the river. The chloride (salt) concentration in the river dropped by more than 60% in 2008 and has stayed fairly low ever since. However, that number is starting to increase again, if ever so slightly.

While it’s difficult to specifically pinpoint the sources of chloride pollution, something we can all control is our salt usage. De-icing salt makes life easier for us during the winter, but when the ice melts, the salt goes with it to our rivers and streams. The higher the chloride concentration, the greater the risk to local wildlife and recreation, and if left unchecked, it could seep into the groundwater that we drink.

With a little extra knowledge, we can keep our Vermillion River healthy.