Use Less Deicing Salt
Why Using Less Deicing Salt Helps Keep Our Water Clean and Safe
Salt (or chlorides) 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 nature to road infrastructure. Salt can cause soil to lose its ability to retain water, which leads to erosion and increasing sediments entering lakes.Excess salt can make soil more alkaline and compact, 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 populations and their ecosystems. Chloride also changes the density of water. This, in turn, can negatively impact seasonal mixing of lakes and cause a decrease in the oxygen levels required by aquatic life.
Chloride corrodes road surfaces and bridges and damages reinforcing rods, increasing infrastructure maintenance and repair costs. Deicing salt also accelerates rusting on many car parts.
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 melting snow and ice runs into our lakes and rivers—and the salt goes with it. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recommends using less than 1 pound of salt per 12ft by 12ft area. Aim for 3 inches of space between salt granules.
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