Modelling the impacts of deicing salt on soil water in a roadside environment

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: This study tested a dynamic modelling approach based on salt application, meteorological data and generic descriptions of hydrogeological environments for describing the spread of deicing salt to the surroundings and the corresponding increase in chloride storage in soil. Both the amount of chloride storage and the annual variation pattern were significantly altered due to deicing salt application and spread to the roadside environment. Data from field investigations comprising different hydrogeological environments and different methods of measurement were used to examine the variability of the salt deposition pattern in the vicinity of the road, and to test the performance of the model with respect to different soils and vegetation types. The use of typical hydrogeological environments to represent inputs to the model was shown to be useful to demonstrate the importance of soils, vegetation type and groundwater conditions for modelling the impact of deicing salt on soil water and the response to environmental changes in the vadose zone. However, the use of hydrogeological environment could also be misleading in view of the high degree of variability at the field scale. The different methods of measurements and simulations represented different spatial and temporal scales that were shown to be complementary useful to quantify the different pathways of deicing salt in the roadside environment. Continuous simulations complemented with selected field monitoring should therefore be promoted.