PhD student Lauren McPhillips is carrying out research in stormwater detention basins on Cornell's campus. These basins receive runoff from nearby parking lots, which can include substantial salt in winter and early spring. Lauren has been tracking how fast salt washes through soils in these basins, as well as investigating how soil salinity impacts microbial processes occurring in these basins.
Research in action
Past research by former PhD student Steve Shaw investigated long-term trends in chloride in Fall Creek in central New York. His work (check out the paper here) found that road salt had a residence time of ~50 years in the watershed, meaning that impacts of road salt applications now could be felt for decades to come.
Overall, we hope that all of this research will help us understand how road salt is impacting our environment, particularly our water resources. With this information, we can motivate better management strategies to reduce adverse impacts.Funding: Recent work has been funded by the NYS Water Resources Institute and the Cornell Engineering Learning Initiatives Undergraduate Research Grant Program
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Lauren McPhillips.
Last updated March 2015