Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Anne M. Vogel announced today that funding is now available to help local communities improve road salt storage and distribution practices in a manner that reduces salt pollution in Ohio’s waterways.
The H2Ohio Chloride Reduction Grant Program will award a total of approximately $1 million in funding to local municipalities for equipment upgrades that will prevent the over application of salt on Ohio roads and reduce the amount of salt running off into Ohio’s streams, rivers, and lakes.
“Road salt plays an incredibly important role in road safety, but we must also consider the impact of this salt on the quality of Ohio’s water,” said Governor DeWine. “This program will help local communities apply salt in a way that effectively treats slippery roads while also reducing the amount of salt that runs off the roads and into the water.”
According to the Ohio EPA, heavy salt runoff is toxic to aquatic life and can also pollute drinking water sources, leading to higher treatment costs and infrastructure corrosion.
“This is what H2Ohio is all about,” said Director Vogel. “This is why Governor DeWine started this program four years ago. It’s connecting hometowns all over Ohio with no-strings-attached funding that will then be used to make communities stronger, safer, and healthier.”
Among the items that qualify for funding are live-edge blades, salt spreader control systems, brine mixers, and structural upgrades to salt storage facilities to prevent ground water contamination. Municipalities, townships, counties, and other governmental agencies can apply for single grants of up to $75,000 through Jan. 31, 2024. The request for proposals, application materials, and contact information are available at epa.ohio.gov.
To further reduce salt runoff in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will support Ohio EPA in a public education campaign for local governments on the problem of the overapplication of salt. The campaign will encourage those using road deicer salts to follow best management practices, apply less salt, and use best available technologies for applying salt.
ODOT maintains 42,667 lane miles of state and U.S. routes outside municipalities and all interstates, except the Ohio Turnpike, and primarily applies a salt brine solution to roads during cold weather months. The solution, made up of 23 percent salt and 77 percent tap water, allows salt to be applied more precisely and efficiently compared to traditional rock salt, which tends to scatter or get plowed off to the side of the roadway. Since the winter of 2018-2019, ODOT’s salt usage per lane mile has dropped from 22.5 tons to 9.37 tons, a decrease of 240 percent.
The H2Ohio Chloride Reduction Grant Program was developed with support from the Ohio General Assembly. The grants are part of the new H2Ohio Rivers Program, which Governor DeWine announced last week.
For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, visit h2.ohio.gov.