Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, Volume 223, Issue 5, pp 2751–2770 | Cite as

Environmental Impacts of Chemicals for Snow and Ice Control: State of the Knowledge

  • Laura Fay
  • Xianming ShiEmail author


As chemicals are widely used for snow and ice control of highway and airfield pavements or aircrafts, recent years have seen increased concerns over their potentially detrimental effects on the surrounding environment. The abrasives used for winter operations on pavements are also a cause of environmental concerns. After some background information, this paper presents a review of the environmental impacts of chemicals used for snow and ice control, including those on: surface, ground, and drinking waters; soil; flora; and fauna. The paper provides a state-of-the-art survey of published work (with a focus on those in the last two decades) and examines mainly the impacts of abrasives, chlorides, acetates and formates, urea, glycols, and agro-based deicers. Finally, we conclude with a brief discussion of public perception of such impacts and best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate them.


Snow and ice control Abrasives Deicers Chlorides Acetates Formates Glycols Environmental impacts 



The authors acknowledge the financial support by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the U.S. DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration that made this work possible. We appreciate the guidance and insights provided by the CDOT project manager and technical panel members for the alternative deicer evaluation project, which contains the work presented herein as an integral component. We are also thankful for the assistance provided by our former colleague Marijean M. Peterson in editing this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11270_2011_1064_MOESM1_ESM.doc (70 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 70 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Corrosion & Sustainable Infrastructure Laboratory, Western Transportation InstituteMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  2. 2.Civil Engineering DepartmentMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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