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A five-year study was conducted to identify the effects of road salt intrusion on the water chemistry of Pinhook Bog following operation of an uncovered salt storage pile adjacent to the bog for ten years. A distinct pattern of elevated salt concentrations was observed in the interstitial waters of the surface peat that corresponded to observed alterations in the bog vegetation. Yearly mean salt concentrations as high as 468 mg/1 sodium and 1215 mg/1 chloride were recorded in the plant root zone .of the peat mat. The salt concentrations decreased significantly each year from 1979 to 1981 throughout the impacted area. Some increases of a lesser magnitude occurred in 1982 and 1983. Analysis of salt movements suggested that vertical transport by water movement was responsible for concentration changes. The major declines in salt levels occurred in the spring following snowmelt and heavy precipitation events. Evapotranspiration during periods of drought resulted in the gradual increases in surface peat salt concentrations. Diverted highway runoff was shown to be the major continuing source of sodium chloride contamination and was the likely source of the elevated calcium, magnesium, potassium, bicarbonate, and pH levels also observed in the impacted area.


Author was employed by National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, lndiana 46304

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wilcox, D.A. 1986. The effects of deicing salts on water chemistry in Pinhook Bog, Indiana. Water Resources Bulletin 22:57-65.