Winter maintenance and salting tips
If you can, try to get ahead of the ice by shoveling early and often. (Photo: FEMA/Wikimedia)
While road and sidewalk salt makes life easier during the winter, too much causes serious problems for the river. Just 1 teaspoon of salt is enough chloride to permanently pollute 5 gallons of river, lake or creek water.
Visit these sites for information to reduce your environmental impact while making your sidewalks and driveways safer to travel. And sign up to be a River Guardian if you'd like to help reduce the amount of salt we use statewide.
Quick tips for reducing chloride pollution:
- Shovel early and often to keep ice from forming.
- Sweep up excess salt and leftover salt after it's melted ice and before it enters a storm drain.
- Only apply salt when it's above 15 degrees since most salts stop working in the bitter cold.
- Don't overapply: One coffee mug-full is enough for 10 sidewalk squares or a 20' driveway. One grain melts a 3" circle of ice.
- Consider alternatives to salt.
- The Water Main compiles news, updates, and helpful info on road salt and chloride pollution in Minnesota
- Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's video: Improved Winter Maintenance: Good Choices for Clean Water
- Mississippi Watershed Management Organization's video: Winter Maintenance for Small Sites
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's webpages on salt and water quality and article, Snow removal: Do it better, cheaper, and pollution-free
- For water professionals: Training programs from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency