Salt can make sidewalks and driving surfaces safer but it also pollutes lakes and rivers. Salt can also harm pets and wildlife. Selecting the right salt product and knowing how much salt to use is important in helping protect the environment.
The Coon Creek Watershed District offers the following tips:
- SHOVEL - Clear walkways before snow turns to ice and before you apply salt. The more snow you clear manually, the less salt you'll need.
- SELECT - Salt doesn't melt ice if the pavement is below 15 degrees, so use sand for traction when it's too cold, or choose a different de-icer.
- SCATTER - Use salt only when it's critical. When you apply salt to pavement, leave plenty of space between granules. A 12-ounce coffee cup of salt is enough to cover 10 sidewalk squares or a 20-foot driveway.
- SWEEP - Clean up leftover salt, sand and de-icer to save and reuse as needed.
Selecting the right salt product is also important. Not all products work at all temperatures. The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization offers the following information:
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency offers Smart Salting training. Participating organizations have been able to reduce their salt use by 30 to 70%. And the training has been shown to prevent chloride contamination in bodies of water. Go here for more info. on the training sessions.