Managing Road Salt to Improve Water Quality

Road salt is impacting Accotink Creek’s water quality

Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the Accotink Creek Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for chloride in May 2018, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has continued to develop and define their Salt Management Strategy (SaMS) to reduce water quality issues caused by the road salt (chloride) that helps keep our roads drivable during winter months.  This largely non-regulatory strategy serves both as a broad framework for implementing the Accotink Creek TMDL and a means for educating stakeholders across Northern Virginia about best management practices in salt application.  Read our August 2018 Field Notes article to learn more about the chloride and sediment TMDLs for Accotink Creek.

DEQ has formed a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) to raise awareness of the impacts of road salt, and to recommend ways that businesses, organizations, and agencies can voluntarily adapt to best management practices for chloride application.  The SAC is made up of state and local government agencies, water maintenance providers, homeowners, citizens and other associations – with six separate workgroups tasked with developing recommendations for these areas:

  • Traditional Best Management Practices
  • Non-Traditional Best Practices
  • Education & Outreach
  • Water Quality Monitoring & Research
  • Salt Tracking & Reporting
  • Government Coordination

To fully involve all stakeholders in this effort, DEQ has been holding public meetings since January 2018, along with several SAC meetings, workgroup meetings, and training events.  If you are interested in learning more about the SaMS or investigating how your business or organization can contribute to improved water quality next winter by using salt efficiently and effectively, visit the Virginia DEQ SaMS website here.  If you have questions about how this emerging strategy might affect your projects in Northern Virginia, please reach out to the contacts below.


  • Matt Elliott

    Gainesville, VA

  • Frank Graziano

    Gainesville, VA