Diverting Salt from Mirror Lake

Photo: Jerry Franklin

In 1970, Interstate-93 pushed through the NE watershed of Mirror Lake. To help maintain this roadway free of ice and snow in the winter, very large amounts of salt (NaCl) are added to the highway. In spite of attempts to divert this salt away from Mirror Lake, the concentrations of Na+ and Cl- are gradually increasing in the NE Tributary and in the Lake (Bormann and Likens 1985, Rosenberry et al. 1999, Likens and Buso 2010). Combined with recent construction on I-93, new attempts are being made to divert the salt away from the Lake, providing an important new research opportunity.

  • Bormann, F. H., and G. E. Likens. 1985. Air and watershed management and the aquatic ecosystem. In: G. E. Likens (ed.). An Ecosystem Approach to Aquatic Ecology: Mirror Lake and Its Environment. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. pp. 436-444.
  • Rosenberry, D. O., P. A. Bukaveckas, D. C. Buso, G. E. Likens, A. M. Shapiro, and T. C. Winter. 1999. Movement of road salt to a small New Hampshire lake. Water Air Soil Pollut. 109:179-206.
  • Kaushal, S., P. M. Groffman, G. E. Likens, K. T. Belt, W. P. Stack, V. R. Kelly, L. E. Band, and G. T. Fisher. 2005. Increased salinization of fresh water in the northeastern United States. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 102(38):13517-13520.
  • Likens, G. E. and D. C. Buso. 2010. Salinization of Mirror Lake by road salt. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 205:205-214.

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