The NJ Salt Watch study is returning for the 2022-2023 winter season! Click above to request your chloride test strips to start monitoring your favorite New Jersey streams and lakes. This project engages community scientists to assess the impacts of winter road salting on New Jersey freshwater nontidal water bodies. 

Get Started

  • Request your test strips

    Submit an online request form to receive your free chloride test strips. The package will arrive by mail in a few weeks.

  • Pick a stream or lake site to monitor

    You will return to this site several times this winter, so make sure your site is safe and accessible. The waterbody should be freshwater and nontidal, but can be located in any part of New Jersey. We are interested in data from multiple types of land uses (i.e. urban, rural, agricultural).

  • Learn about your waterbody

    To be eligible for this project, your waterbody should be freshwater and nontidal. Wondering if your waterbody meets this criteria? Most do, but if you live near the ocean or a tidal river, you should check to see if your waterbody is freshwater. Click above to head to NJ GeoWeb map system, zoom in on your location, and see if the head of tide (the blue target) is downstream of your intended monitoring location. From the linked map, click the Layer List in the top right corner and turn on Parcels Data to see who owns the property. Make sure you have permission to return to this spot several times this winter - public land is fair game!

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast

    To find out if chloride levels spike after a road salting event, we are interested in data collected in both dry and wet weather. Take a few measurements on a "wet" day, when rain, snow, or snowmelt may wash road salt into the water. Then take a few measurements on a "dry" day, when there hasn't been rain, snow, or snowmelt within 48-72 hours.

  • Visit your site 4-6 times before the end of March or April

    Testing takes about 10 minutes tops, so many volunteers will make a stop at multiple sites during each monitoring event. See below for test instructions.

Measuring the Impacts of Road Salt:
Chloride Levels in New Jersey

How can you put your stream on a reduced-sodium diet?

Head to Izaak Walton League of America’s Winter Salt Watch page for a great list of resources for you – and your local municipality and state Department of Transportation – to help reduce your salt footprint.

Chloride Test Procedures with Hach Chloride Test Strip

  1. Find a clean small glass or plastic cup. 
  2. Using water from the stream, rinse out your cup 3 times. 
  3. Fill the cup with about an inch of stream water. (The test will not work if the top half of the test strip is submerged.) 
  4. Place the chloride test strip into the cup with the “quantab” label at the top. 
  5. Leave the strip sitting in the cup until the horizontal orange line at the top turns a dark blue or black (up to 10 minutes). 
  6. Take a picture of your test strip on a white background on the card provided. Include a photo of the conversion chart as well, because these differ depending on the specific test strip you are using! 
  7. To read the test strip, locate where the tip of the white peak falls on the scale. You can convert these units to parts per million (ppm) with the table below. 
  8. Upload your picture and data to the NJ Watershed Watch Network. 
  9. Thank you! 

Thank you to the Izaak Walton League of America Salt Watch Program for sharing their methods!

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