2021-22 Findings

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Season 5 of Salt Watch was an incredible success! In 2021-2022, volunteers in 24 states conducted more than 5,300 chloride tests. Across the country, 18 percent of those results showed chloride levels high enough to be toxic to aquatic life.

Volunteers found high chloride readings in cities like Detroit, Minneapolis, and Washington DC. In cities like Philadelphia, advocacy by Salt Watchers helped communities move towards smarter salting practices, while awareness of the problem grew in places like Pittsburgh; Hartford, CT; and Appleton, WI.

Below, explore the interactive map of all the results from Season 5. Click on any dot to see more data, or click the double-arrow icon at the top left to see the legend. Then, dive into regional results and success stories from across the country.

Salt Watch Season 5 Results Infographic

Regional Results


4% toxic, 12% high • 225 results • 27 volunteers • 3 partner groups

Connecticut - Salt Watch Season 52021-2022 was the first year we had significant participation in Connecticut, and it has been great to partner with these organizations who have championed Salt Watch in their communities. Chloride pollution is an emerging issue in Connecticut. The state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is concerned about the pollution, but doesn’t have resources for widespread monitoring – so they connected these groups to us. We saw relatively low levels of chloride pollution this season. Next year, we expect to expand monitoring into northeastern Connecticut.

Washington DC Area

34% toxic, 68% high • 884 results • 150 volunteers • 10+ partner groups

Washington DC - Salt Watch Season 5This was a huge year in the DC metro area for Salt Watch – momentum has continued to grow! Grants in south-central Maryland have helped to propel engagement in Gaithersburg and neighboring communities. Communities in northern Virginia are also interested in becoming more involved in Salt Watch. Advocacy groups in the area are making exciting progress in raising awareness about chloride pollution and smart salting practices.


19% toxic, 65% high • 282 results • 116 volunteers • 5 partner groups

Philadelphia - Salt Watch Season 5Philadelphia continues to have a great coordinated effort around monitoring – plus, the city enjoys the involvement of several student groups at middle schools and high schools. A public hearing on the impacts of salt use was a huge step forward in turning data into action. Groups in the area also worked with Stroud Water Research Center to analyze and communicate their monitoring results.


19% toxic, 45% high • 246 results • 32 volunteers • 3 partner groups

Pittsburgh - Salt Watch Season 5In Pittsburgh, Salt Watch participation is all about groups working with students! Creek Connections brings student groups out to streams, and chloride pollution is part of the lesson plan. Students at Washington and Jefferson College are coordinating with the Washington County Watershed Alliance, Washington County Conservation District, and the local Izaak Walton League chapter to monitor chloride in the city of Washington. A local homeschool group is getting in on the action too!


27% toxic, 65% high • 91 results • 18 volunteers • 2 partner groups

Detroit - Salt Watch Season 5The salt situation in eastern Michigan remains alarming, but volunteer action brings hope for change. Groups in the area are coordinating their monitoring efforts: Friends of the Rouge is working with the county and with at least one local school. In our Season 5 kickoff webinar, Friends of the Rouge leader Sally Petrella shared the region's story and highlighted how dangerously high chloride levels in local streams pose risks to important fish habitat.

Western Michigan

6% toxic, 25% high • 110 results • 12 volunteers • 3 partner groups

Western Michigan - Salt Watch Season 5This year, western Michigan was an amazing story of organic success for Salt Watch! With no strong League presence in the area, local groups independently discovered the community science project and jumped right in. Volunteers in the largely rural area found low chloride levels compared to most other regions with strong Salt Watch participation.


14% toxic, 26% high • 170 results • 32 volunteers • 3 partner groups

Wisconsin - Salt Watch Season 5Over the past two years, the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance has championed Salt Watch in Wisconsin. Together with the Madison-based Wisconsin Salt Wise Partnership and other local groups, the Alliance is raising awareness about the harms of excessive salting. Most Salt Watch tests in this large, mostly rural area of eastern Wisconsin showed relatively low levels of chloride pollution.

Minnesota's Twin Cities

53% toxic, 67% high • 249 results • 110 volunteers • 4 partner groups

Twin Cities - Salt Watch Season 5Volunteers in the Twin Cities continued their participation in Salt Watch this year, monitoring lakes, stream crossings and storm drains for chloride pollution. More than in any other region, groups in the Twin Cities have taken on Salt Watch as their own project, using it to raise awareness of the impact of excessive road salting.

Salt Watchers of the Month

During Season 5, we began recognizing Salt Watchers who went above and beyond to be advocates in their communities. Here, some of these superstar volunteers share their stories.

Geoffrey Selling

October 2021: Geoffrey Selling and Chrissa Pedersen (PA)

Karl Van Neste

November 2021: Karl Van Neste (MD)

Kelly Reyer

December 2021: Kelly Reyer (WI)

Woody Stanley

January 2022: Woody Stanley (MD)

Young girl with Salt Watch materials

February 2022: Jeff Witters (KS)

Randy Holst

March 2022: Randy Holst (MN)

Juliella Hankinson

April 2022: Juliella Hankinson (OH)