THINK BEFORE YOU SALT.
YOU are responsible for following all Local Ordinances.
THE PROBLEM WITH OVER SALTING
Salt is toxic to Minnesota’s aquatic life. As snow and ice melt off hard surfaces, it runs into storm drains that flow into lakes, streams, and wetlands – taking the salt with it. Over salting sidewalks and parking lots does not mean more melting, it just damages property and pollutes our water supply.
Excessive salt impacts everything from the health of our soils, plants, fish, insects, pets, and wildlife to accelerating infrastructure deterioration. Salts can cause soil to lose its ability to retain water, which leads to erosion and increasing sediments going into lakes. Excess salt can make soil more alkaline and compact, and less permeable, making it more difficult to store nutrients that plants need to grow. Direct deicing salt can kill plants and trees along sidewalks and roadsides. Plants can also be harmed by taking up salty water directly through their roots. High levels of chloride are toxic to fish, aquatic bugs, and amphibians. Even at lower levels, chloride can negatively affect the fish and insect community, diversity and productivity. Chloride also changes the density of water. This, in turn, can negatively impact seasonal mixing of lakes causing a decrease in oxygen levels required by aquatic life. Chloride also corrodes road surfaces and bridges and damages reinforcing rods, increasing maintenance and repair costs. Deicing salt accelerates rusting, causing damage to vehicle parts such as brake linings, frames, bumpers.
While it certainly is effective, its overuse is resulting in permanent damage to our lakes and rivers and even in groundwater. More doesn’t mean safer when it comes to applying de-icing chemicals. It just means adding unnecessary pollution to our lakes and rivers, because when snow and ice melt, the water runs into our lakes and rivers—and the salt goes with it.
SMART SALTING: THE BEST WAY TO MANAGE SLIPPERY PAVEMENT
While managing slippery pavement, safety is always the #1 concern. However over salting doesn’t provide extra safety, it actually can damage property and pollute our local lakes and rivers. To avoid over salting there are four key ways to help you use less salt this winter:
Shovel Early and Often.
Promptly remove snow and ice during or after a snow storm. Shovel sidewalks before snow turns to ice and use salt only if needed. Invest in 7 to 10-inch ice scraper to remove snow that has turn into ice.
Distribute salt thinly, aiming for 2-3 inches between salt granules.
Select the right tool.
Salt only works when the pavement is above 15° F. In colder weather use a liquid deicer and scatter sand for traction.
Switch to the correct salt product
Melting Agent Lowest pavement temperature at which product works Sand Never melts, provides traction only. Blends Check with manufacturer. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) 20° F Sodium chloride (NaCl) 15° F Calcium chloride (CaCl2) -20° F Potassium acetate (KAc) -15° F Magnesium chloride (MgCl2) -10° F
Sweep Up and Reuse.
Clean up leftover salt, sand, and deicer to save and reuse as needed.
Prevention is the only solution. Once salt dissolves in water, there is no practical way to get the salt out of the water, lake, creek, or aquifer.
Learn more about minimizing your salt use
QUESTIONS? REACH OUT TO YOUR LOCAL CITY OFFICE.
Contact your local city office for clarification on your local salt ordinances and to report salt overuse or pollution concerns.
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