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Winter salting and our environment

Updated: 12/10/2019

Blue plastic cupWhether you love it or hate it, winter is quickly approaching. This means snow and ice are on the way!

While snow and ice can cause dangerous conditions on roads and sidewalks, the use of de-icing salt is a common way to combat this issue. Although highly effective at melting snow and ice, salt is harmful to the environment. It is important to use salt sparingly to limit its impact on our wetlands, lakes, streams and ponds. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, it only takes 1 teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water.

What can you do to help? ACT!

  • Amount – Don’t over salt. Try to use less than four 12-ounce scoops of salt per 1,000 square feet (the average-sized  driveway).
  • Choice – The type of salt you use plays a large role in the impact it has on the environment. Magnesium chloride releases 40-percent less chloride than sodium chloride or calcium chloride.
  • Temperature – When applying salt, monitor the temperature. Salt is not effective at melting ice below 15˚F.

Find more smart salting tips from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.