Streets paved with gold…? Here, it’s more like rock salt.


A rain storm turned to ice when temperatures plunged on Saturday. It was minimal, and no mishaps were reported… unless you include hazardous overdoses of rock salt spread everywhere.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Rock Salt on Main Street
24 hours after the storm, Main Street was still coated with the remains of rock salt, including generous amounts spilled onto sidewalks and promenades.

Gold Flipped for Rock Salt

There was a time when New York City lured immigrants with tales about streets paved in gold. It wasn’t true, of course, but it was symbolic. Similarly, Roosevelt Island’s attraction was its quiet, natural beauty, its calm, peaceful streets with strict limitations on cars and trucks. These days, that’s gone too, the Island upended by cars and streets paved in dissolved rock salt.

Deicing the roads, then the hell with the aftermath

Rock salt is a type of road salt used to deice roads during winter weather. It is made up of sodium chloride, a naturally occurring mineral. When rock salt is used for deicing roads, it dissolves in the water on the road and forms a brine. The brine then lowers the freezing point of the water on the road, which prevents ice from forming.

The environmental impact of rock salt on roads depends on how it is used and disposed of. Rock salt can run off into nearby waterways, polluting the water. It also damages vegetation that comes into contact with it. If rock salt is not disposed of properly, it contaminates soil and groundwater.

How do you properly dispose of rock salt?

Proper disposal of rock salt includes using it following the manufacturer’s instructions and following local ordinances. It should be swept up and disposed of in a landfill or by incineration. If sweeping up the salt it is not possible, it can be plowed into the ground. Rock salt should not be dumped into waterways or on vegetation.

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