Accumulation of De-Icing Salt and Leaching in Spanish Soils Surrounding Roadways

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Dec 2;14(12):1498. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14121498.


The environmental implications of soil salinity caused by accumulation of de-icing salt and leaching in soils of northeastern Spain were examined. For this purpose, the concentrations of ions associated with diagnosing and managing this problem were evaluated from several measurements performed over one year along a road. This analysis demonstrated a higher concentration of soluble Na⁺ in the soil 3 m from a road in the northernmost part of the study area in February, which made the soil saline-sodic. Data from the rest of the study period (during the spring and summer) demonstrated that the de-icing salt moved to areas farther south by runoff water, which caused environmental impacts by modifying soil characteristics. These results suggest that leaching of Ca2+ and Mg2+ cations occurred faster in the studied systems in sodic soils. Leaching of these cations may affect plant yield, and results in environmental impacts within 3-30 m from the road. Awareness of this impact will be useful for developing future strategies for evaluating and reporting these complex relationships within Spain's transport system and environment.

Keywords: de-icing salt; environmental impact; plant damage; plant grow yield; roadway; saline-sodic soil.

MeSH terms

  • Seasons
  • Sodium Chloride / analysis*
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Spain
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Sodium Chloride