How Does Road Salt Affect Your Well Water?

Did you know New Hampshire was the first state to use road salt during the winter? Since 1938, New Hampshire residents have shared similar experiences of building snowmen, making snow angels, and watching trucks supply the streets with salt to prevent automobiles from slipping and sliding. However, these Granite State families may not have known how this salt has negatively impacted the water supply they rely on so heavily when they return inside. Knowing how to recognize the source of road salt can help modern New Hampshire homeowners take the next steps for cleaner water no matter the season.

The Basics of Road Salt

To understand the effects of road salt, it is essential to know why we even place road salt on the roads in the first place. Road salt is used to combat the dangerous ice that develops under 32 ℉. When road salt is spread on New Hampshire’s winter streets, it decreases the freezing temperature of the ice through a process called freezing point depression. This action means the water’s freezing point can be changed from 32℉ to a lower temperature, like 20℉. If the freezing point is lowered, no ice will form until it reaches that lower temperature, allowing cars to travel on the road more often in winter. However, when the thermometer reaches 15 °F and below, road salt is ineffective due to its inability to dissolve the ice molecules under such cold conditions.

How does road salt work?

In simple terms, road salt hinders the water from becoming solid ice crystals at 32℉. Usually, water has a smooth transition into its frozen form, but when salt molecules are mixed in with water molecules, the process is disturbed. Instead of becoming ice, the salt and water combine to become a slushy mixture. As we alluded, this slush alternative will only last until the temperature hits 15 ℉ or less.


Road salt can be called “halite,” the natural (mineral) form of table salt. However, the critical difference is that it did not go through table salt’s purification process. That is why table salt is pure white, and road salt can be brown or gray.

How does road salt affect your water?

Now that we know why we use road salt, we can understand how it impacts the environment. Salt, in its very nature, is made of sodium and chloride. While this property makes it easy to fulfill its purpose on the roads, it is quite detrimental when it is not being used. Chloride cannot be naturally degraded in nature once it dissolves. Therefore, road salt can still be found in runoff from the street or in piles of snow and slush shoveled to the lane’s side.

Runoff is hazardous because it can drip into nearby wells that provide water to thousands of families in New Hampshire. If the well is idle without any mode of exit for the water, more salt can build up and create unhealthy concentrations for those who draw water from it. So, if your well is located near a road, your water supply may have road salt contamination accumulated over a long period.

Is road salt bad for you?

In simple terms, water that contains road salt is considered to be contaminated. Remembering that salt is sodium chloride, we can expect specific effects once we drink the contaminated water. For example, consuming road salt water adds extra sodium to your diet, causing high blood pressure. If it comes in contact with the ground, the contaminated water might also have carried other harmful particles into your water, namely radon. Sometimes, you can even taste the chloride residue when you take a sip of your well water.

In addition to runoff, storms can whisk road salt away from the road and spread it to ecosystems and waterways, consequently harming plants, animals, and humans. Animals in nature are exposed to toxic amounts of chloride, which is fatal to aquatic creatures in the affected water resources. Your water pipes will also suffer from the excess road salt. Chloride can cause corrosion in lead pipes, producing flakes of harmful elements in your water. Even small amounts of lead can threaten irreversible damage to your brain. More significant amounts of lead can result in severe conditions that can become fatal.

How can road salt contamination be prevented?

Reading about the detrimental effects of road salt can become worrying. Luckily, NH Tap has an answer. Our team provides a water test inside your home to fully cater to your water-related needs. Once our professionals identify your key issues, you will be able to address them with our array of products adequately. You will also receive an estimate on pricing for our products to remedy your water’s quality.

NH Tap’s Solution

If road salt has trickled into your private well water, NH Tap offers the Absolute Well Water Filtration System. What makes this filter different from other suppliers is NH Tap’s specialization of each filter regarding the contaminants found in your water. In this cost-efficient series of filters, your water will be treated multiple times for toxins and substances that can negatively impact your water supply. Comprised of the Iron Peak, Arconic, Balance, and Radon Removal systems, the Absolute Well Water Filtration System provides water free from iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide gasses, both Arsenic 3 and Arsenic 5, and corrosive groundwater that could contain road salt.

NH Tap’s well water filtration system is quite beneficial for its users and simple to understand. The contaminants simply come into contact with the filtration materials and are caught, leaving your water clean and healthy to enjoy. When you use our Absolute Well Water system, you choose the safest and easiest option accessible. NH Tap provides professionals to install your system at no cost to you. Offering a five-year warranty for your filter, we are ready to help you in any way you need through regular maintenance services.


As organizations navigate the new alternatives to road salt, investing in a well water filter can help eliminate the stress of homeowners throughout the whole year. Road salt residue can always find its way into your well water, but you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your family’s health and happiness. Schedule your water test today to begin your journey to healthier water!

Return to Articles