The chemical effects of road-deicing salt on soil and water were studied in five small, forested catchments in southeast Sweden. The use of deicing salt on roads applied during the winter season 1998/99 had a profound effect on the soil and stream water chemistry in the studied catchments. The salt applications caused increased salinity in direct proportion to the accumulated amounts. The added salt also induced ion exchange in the soils between Na and primarily Ca and Mg. In some of the catchments, ion exchange increased the mobility of H+ ions and trace metals such as Zn and Cd, reducing alkalinity and increasing the Zn and Cd concentrations in the streams.
deicing salt road salt ion exchange acidity metals soil stream water