Image of a red truck on Montana Highway 83.

MDT uses deicing salts in winter operations to ensure roadways are safe and passable for the driving public. These same deicing salts, once in the environment, can accumulate in the soils, surface and ground water. One promising method to remediate soils and reduce the amount of deicing salts in surface and ground water, is the use of salt tolerant plants to remove the salt from the soils and shallow water sources.

MDT conducted a preliminary literature search that found salt tolerant species may be used to aid in remediation of soils, surface and shallow ground water contamination from salts. While the bulk of the literature was related to agricultural saline contamination, a few research projects assessed the feasibility of using salt tolerant plant species for remediation of deicer contaminated soils. Greenhouse and laboratory results were promising, but the next step of finding significant results in field were limited to non-existent.

The proposed research effort will 1) identify potential native and non-native salt tolerant plant species that could be used for remediation of deicer contaminated soils in Montana, 2) conducted a systematic greenhouse study to determine ideal performing plant species and remediation rates, and 3) make recommendations on field trials locations and methods.

Proposed:Topic Statement
Project Overview

For more information, contact Vaneza Callejas, 802-546-0217.