U.S. rivers are getting saltier – could ag runoff be to blame?
A 50-year-long analysis of hundreds of U.S. Geological Survey monitoring sites finds salts in freshwater rivers and streams are rising across much of the nation. But road salts and deicers, mostly made of the same stuff as table salt, are not the only culprits.
Researchers discovered additional salt ions – potassium, magnesium, and calcium, among others – are also increasing in the country's freshwater rivers. Changes varied by region.
For example, in midwestern agricultural areas, potassium levels rose fastest, likely from fertilizer runoff, whereas salt numbers swelled most rapidly in the densely populated and humid Northeast. Such changes were largely missing in the arid West. | READ MORE
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