Tidbit Tuesday | Salty Streets

On Tuesdays, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) posts a map or graphic that tells a story about transportation or utilities in the City of Brotherly Love.

TidbitTuesday-2013-12-17-saltSome serious snow fell on Philadelphia last Tuesday—as many as six inches—and to keep the roads safe the Streets Department’s “snow fighting” efforts were similarly serious. When we heard that 7,500 tons of salt were applied to the streets, we got wondering what else you could do with all that sodium. Road salt (sodium chloride) is essentially the same as table salt (sodium chloride). If all the salt applied to our streets were road salt, those 7,500 tons could season 38 billion one-ounce servings of potato chips, or the food of every resident in Philadelphia for eight years. (Assumes each resident consumes 1500 mg of salt per day, the maximum recommended by the American Heart Association. MOTU in no way endorses consuming salt applied to roads.)

 Salt applied to the streets eventually flows into the watershed. The Streets Department is working to reduce the amount of salt it uses during winter months by applying brine solutions, with 50 percent less salt than dry salt, where possible.

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