Winter Salt Watch FAQs

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Why do you dislike salt so much? Don’t we need it for safety reasons?
Yes, salt is needed. We are not pushing a “salt ban.” We hope that salt can be used in smarter ways and in smaller quantities moving forward. Alternative approaches include brine or sand application. (You can read more about salt alternatives in our blog.)


Why are we testing for chloride? Shouldn’t we be testing for salt?
There is no way to specifically test for road salt. Chloride is a main ingredient in road salt and other conventional deicers, so we instead test for chloride.

I would like more than five chloride test strips. Can you send me more?
Unfortunately, not at this time. You can order more chloride test strips online from Amazon. Please note: Every batch of chloride strips has a slightly different scale. So if you purchase your own supply of strips, please compare test results to the scale provided with your strips.

Why do you need my address?
We need your address to send you the chloride kit. We will not use your mailing address for any other purposes, and your personal information will not be shared outside the Izaak Walton League.

I already have the Hach Chloride Test Strips. Can I use those?
Yes! Just make sure that when you submit your #saltwatch photo, you take a picture of your strip next to scale on the bottle. (Every batch has a slightly different scale.) Double check the expiration date on the bottle to ensure your strips haven’t expired!

I own a conductivity meter, can I still take part in Winter Salt Watch?
Yes, you can still take part in Salt Watch with a conductivity meter. In fact, it will likely yield more accurate results than the test strips, and we would love to have that data on our map. We can send you Winter Salt Watch cards without the strips or you can choose to take a picture of your stream and comment on the results you find.

Are these tests EPA approved?
No, this data is not as accurate as chloride readings done by state or federal agencies. These strips are much more economical for volunteers to use and provide a big-picture look at chloride levels so you can alert local authorities when there is a spike.  

My chloride readings were higher than 634 ppm. What should I do?
If you get levels that are “off the charts,” we can send you high-range chloride strips, which measure levels from 600 to 3,000 ppm.


Are these tests safe?
The tests are safe and do not use chemicals. The top of the strip may turn your fingers blue, but it is not harmful.

What should I perform my test in?
A small, clean juice glass will work. We do ask that you avoid paper cups because the bleach in paper products will affect the test results.

What waterways can I test with the Winter Salt Watch Kit?
You can test any freshwater ecosystem, including rivers, streams, and lakes. Estuaries and oceans contain naturally occurring salt, so there is less of a need to test their chloride concentrations. 


How exactly do I post this?
Download The Water Reporter app (free for iPhone and Android), create an account and join the Izaak Walton League group! We’ve got it all here in our step-by-step instructions.

What is a hashtag?
A hashtag (#) is an easy way to mark social media content so others can find it. Using the #SaltWatch hashtag for your posts allows us to quickly find and share your post within Water Reporter.

How do I access Water Reporter?
The easiest way to use water reporter is on your smart phone or tablet. You may also choose to use Water Reporter on a computer. Simply visit

I have a large group and would like to see just my groups results on a Water Reporter map. Can this be done?
Yes. Add another hashtag to you post such as #SpringfieldSaltWatch and you will be able to search for only the posts that use the hashtag you create. Just make sure the hashtag is not already in use by another group by searching for it on Water Reporter.

Winter Salt Watch results

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