Rausch and Clement said the DOT is capitalizing on the use of “best management” practices to reduce the amount of salt used.
Those practices include use of specially calibrated spreaders to ensure salt is properly dispersed and limiting the environmental impact, they said.
They also include the use of liquid brine on roadways before storms, Raush said. Snow and ice melt, with minimal impact on the environment, he said.
Fowler said Derry and other towns in I-93 corridor have received grants to help minimize salt use on roads. The towns receive 80 percent reimbursement from the state, he said.
These grants are not specifically targeted toward improving drinking water such as those announced by the DES on Friday, he said.
Green said the grants now being offered by the DES allow towns and land trusts to protect drinking water through the purchase of conservation easements. The grants cover 25 percent of the cost.
Derry was recently able to purchase three $185,000 dump trucks through the salt reduction program, Fowler said. The town has been able to cut its salt use from an average of 3,800 tons per winter to 3,500 tons, he said.
Derek Monson, member of the Cobbetts Pond Improvement Association, said road salt has had a tremendous impact on water quality in Dinsmore Brook. The brook feeds Cobbetts Pond, where the most significant problem is reduced levels of dissolved oxygen — affecting the pond’s ecosystem.
Storm runoff is the biggest problem at Cobbetts, he said. His group received a $77,000 state grant last fall to help control runoff, he said.
Heavy rain in March 2010 led to a major runoff problem at Cobbetts and Dinsmore when a detention pond overflowed. The problem was linked to the I-93 construction.