Each day, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Nine Springs Wastewater Treatment plant receives more salt than this pile dissolved in wastewater coming to the plant. The treatment plant isn't designed to remove dissolved salt, so it passes through the treatment plant into freshwater streams. At high enough levels, the chloride from salt can threaten freshwater plants and animals, which can't tolerate salt water.
It all adds up
It's easy to add salt to water, but costly and energy-intensive to remove it. To build treatment technology to reduce chloride at the treatment plant, it would cost over $400 million -- meaning higher sewer bills. Fortunately, there is another way. Rather than adding costly treatment to continue protecting our freshwater life, we can reduce chloride at the source. Together, we can take steps to reduce the amount of salt put into water.