, Volume 205, Issue 1-4, pp 205-214
Date: 22 Apr 2009

Salinization of Mirror Lake by Road Salt

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The salinization of Mirror Lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire has been ongoing steadily since Interstate 93 (I-93) was built through the NE subcatchment of the lake in the fall and winter of 1969–1970. Salt added to I-93 during winter as a deicer has been transported to the lake by different quantified, hydrologic pathways, but primarily from the Northeast Tributary, which was intersected by I-93. Now, surprisingly, after the New Hampshire Department of Transportation has spent more than $500,000 on recent structural modifications to divert salt from I-93 away from the Northeast subcatchment of Mirror Lake, applications of salt to a small, town road traversing the other two subcatchments for the lake and servicing a new housing development, have become the major source of salt to the lake. Streamflow from these two subcatchments currently provides more than three times as much salt to the lake as from I-93, and the salt concentration in the lake continues to rise.