Water-Resource and Road-Condition Monitoring of Alternative Treatments for Road Deicing

Science Center Objects

Introduction The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is evaluating alternative treatments for road deicing with the goal of reducing the impact of this activity on the State’s water resources. The NYSDOT has requested support from the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in monitoring the effects of these alternative treatments on the water resources. In the past, the USGS has coope...

Introduction



The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is evaluating alternative treatments for road deicing with the goal of reducing the impact of this activity on the State’s water resources. The NYSDOT has requested support from the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in monitoring the effects of these alternative treatments on the water resources. In the past, the USGS has cooperated with State transportation agencies in studies to evaluate road-deicer concentrations in Massachusetts (Church and others, 1996; Granato and Smith, 1999; and Smith and Granato, 2010) and to determine the impacts on water resources in Ohio and Indiana that included the application of surface-and borehole-geophysical technologies (Risch and Robinson, 2001; Watson and others, 2002; and Kunze and Sroka, 2004).  A USGS-State cooperative study in Massachusetts (Church and others, 1996) evaluated engineering methods to mitigate the impact of road deicing on groundwater through well-cluster monitoring and electromagnetic-induction logging (figs. 1 and 2).  A current USGS-State cooperative study in Massachusetts is monitoring road-salt runoff and pavement conditions using automated sampling techniques and road-weather sensor technologies (figs. 3a.3b).

As a pilot demonstration, the NYSDOT has identified road sections for abrasive and low-salt treatments along State Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington, and a control section with typical deicing treatment along State Route 35 (fig. 4).  Exploratory wells drilled by the NYSDOT in the right of way of the road sections penetrated coarse-grained alluvial-glacial deposits overlying bedrock at depths of less than 5 to more than 35 feet below land surface.  The depth to the water table at the drill sites was less than 10 feet from land surface.

Figure 1.  Design of a groundwater monitoring network for a USGS-State cooperative road-deicing study in Massachusetts

Figure 1. Design of a groundwater monitoring network for a USGS-State cooperative

road-deicing study in Massachusetts



Example of electromagnetic-induction logs and water-quality results from well clusters upgradient and downgradient of road section monitored for a USGS-State cooperative road-deicing study in Massachusetts

Figure 2.  Example of electromagnetic-induction logs and water-quality results from well

clusters upgradient and downgradient of road section monitored for a USGS-State

cooperative road-deicing study in Massachusetts (from Church and Friesz, 1993b)



Figure 3.  Highway station and instrumentation to monitor runoff flow and quality and road conditions for a current USGS-State cooperative road-deicing study in Massachusetts Instrumentation to monitor runoff flow and quality and road conditions for a current USGS-State cooperative road-deicing study in Massachusetts

Figures 3a,3b. Highway station and intstrumentation to

monitor runoff flow and quality and road conditions for a

current USGS-State cooperative road-deicing study in

Massachusetts



Figure 4. Location of alternative road-deicing treatments, exploratory wells, and proposed groundwater surface-water monitoring network

Figure 4. Location of alternative road-deicing treatments,

exploratory wells, and proposed groundwater surface-water

monitoring network

Figure 5. Proposed specifications for monitoring-well cluster installation

Figure 5. Proposed specifications for monitoring-well cluster installation



Objectives



The objectives of the proposed study are to evaluate the effectiveness of abrasive and low-salt road-deicing treatments in reducing chloride concentrations and loads in the surface-water and groundwater systems, and to provide the NYSDOT with data to help them evaluate the effectiveness of alternative winter roadway maintenance methods.



Approach



The USGS proposes to establish and maintain a water-resource and road-runoff monitoring network through the integrated application of highway-runoff drain and cluster-well water sampling, electromagnetic surveying and logging, and road-weather sensor technology.  The study approach builds upon previous and current Federal-State cooperative road-salt studies and applies state-of-the-art water-resource and geophysical methods. The proposed approach is summarized, by task, as follows:

  1. Geophysical Surveys
    1. Collect gamma and electromagnetic-induction logs and groundwater samples for field measurement of specific conductance and temperature at the four exploratory well sites (fig. 4) to provide preliminary data on the thickness of the aquifer (saturated coarse-grained deposits) and salinity of groundwater in the study area.  This data along with the drilling logs of the exploratory wells will be used in the initial interpretation of the surface-geophysical surveys.
    2. Conduct passive-seismic and frequency-domain electromagnetic (GEM2) surveys of the upgradient and downgradient areas of the proposed control, abrasives, and low-salt treatment groundwater-monitoring locations (fig. 4). The non-invasive surface-geophysical data will be analyzed to estimate the three-dimensional spatial distribution of aquifer framework and groundwater salinity at the proposed locations and confirm their suitability for groundwater monitoring.
    3. Collect gamma and electromagnetic-induction logs and pumping tests at the six cluster-well sites (fig. 4).
  2. Groundwater Monitoring
    1. Install and maintain downhole monitoring sensors in the six shallowest cluster wells for continuous measurement of groundwater level, specific conductance, and temperature. Real-time web dissemination of the data from the downgradient well at the abrasive location.
    2. Collect water samples seasonally (four to five times a year) from each cluster well, and from each cluster well.  Submit the samples to the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory for major cation and anions analyses.
    3. Conduct frequency-domain electromagnetic (GEM2) surveys and electromagnetic-induction logging seasonally (four to five times a year) at the three groundwater-monitoring locations.
  3. Surface-Water Monitoring 
    1. Install and maintain in-stream monitoring sensors for continuous measurement of specific conductance and temperature at 3 sites along the Ausable River and 6 sites (upgradient and downgradient sites on 3 unnamed tributary streams) (fig. 4).
    2. Install one streamgage along the Ausable River and make miscellaneous measurements at 6 tributary-stream sites. Mathematical analysis will be done using miscellaneous measurements to estimate daily discharge at all tributary sites.
    3. Collect water samples seasonally (four to five times a year) from the tributary-stream sites.  Submit the samples to the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory for major cation and anions analyses.
  4. Highway Runoff and Road-Condition Monitoring
    1. Install and maintain continuous flow, specific-conductance, and temperature data-collection sensors at three highway-runoff monitoring sites and real-time web dissemination of the data.
    2. Install equipment to continuously monitor highway runoff and automatically collect discrete and flow-weighted composite samples of runoff from each section of highway. Additional equipment will be installed to monitor precipitation, snow depth, and air temperature of highway runoff at each test site. Non-contact and in-pavement sensors will be installed at each test location to monitor road surface temperature, road moisture conditions (damp, wet, ice, snow, etc.), pavement friction, and chemical-active state. In-pavement sensors will be installed during the second year after the highway sections are resurfaced.
    3. Periodically collect composite samples of highway runoff from each test sites for 15-18 selected storms over a 2-year period. These composite samples of highway runoff will be analyzed for total nutrients, major ions, selected trace elements, and suspended sediment concentration. Discrete samples of highway runoff also will be collected over a range of specific conductance and analyzed for major ions. These data will supplement available composite sample concentration data to relate measurements of specific conductance to concentrations of deicing elements.
  5. Data Analysis, Interpretation, and Publication
    1. Estimate concentrations of chloride and sodium from continuous measurements of specific conductance of highway runoff for each test section. Estimate loads and yields of chloride and sodium for each highway test segment.
    2. Compare and contrast constituent concentrations from composites samples among sites and to available highway runoff data in New England.
    3. Evaluate pavement data in terms of the frequency and occurrence of various pavement conditions (for example, ice and snow) in respect to pavement salt concentrations or chemically active periods.
    4. A USGS Scientific Investigations Report will be prepared and published that documents the study data collection and analysis methods and presents the interpreted results

References



Church, P. E. and Friesz, P.J., 1993a, Effectiveness of highway drainage systems in preventing road-salt contamination of ground water: Preliminary findings, Transportation Research Record No. 1420, Transportation Research Board.



­­­_____1993b, Delineation of a road-salt plume in groundwater, and travel time measurements for estimating hydraulic conductivity by use of borehole-induction logs: in Fifth International Symposium on Geophysics for Minerals, Geotechnical, and Environmental Applications Proceedings, p. Yl-Y 16.



Church, P.E., Armstrong, D.S., Granato, G.E., Stone, V.J., Smith, K.P., and Provencher, P.L., 1996, Effectiveness of highway-drainage systems in preventing contamination of ground water by road salt, Route 25, southeastern Massachusetts--description of study area, data collection programs, and methodology, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 96-317, 72 p.



Granato, G.E., and Smith, K.P., 1999, Estimating concentrations of road-salt constituents in highway-runoff from measurements of specific conductance: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99–4077,22 p. [Also available at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/wri994077.]



Kunze, A. E. and Sroka, B. N. 2004, Effects of highway deicing chemicals on shallow unconsolidated aquifers in Ohio—Final report:  U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 04-5150, 187 p.



Smith, K.P., and Granato, G.E., 2010, Quality of stormwater runoff discharged from Massachusetts highways, 2005–07: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009–5269, 198 p., CD–R. [Also available at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20095269.]



Risch, M.R. and Robinson, B.A., 2001, Use of borehole and surface geophysics to investigate ground-water quality near a road-deicing salt-storage facility, Valparaiso, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4070, 65 p. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/wri004070



Watson, L. R., Bayless, E. R., Buszka, P. M., and Wilson, J. T., 2002, Effects of highway-deicer application on ground-water quality in a part of the Calumet Aquifer, northwestern Indiana, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 01-4260, 148 p.