When snow and ice melt, dissolved salts on roadways are carried into adjacent storm sewers that enter our local rivers, lakes, and streams. Once in the water, there is no way to remove the chloride, and at high concentrations chloride harms fish and plant life.
1. Shovel first. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use. Break up ice with an ice scraper or shovel snow off walkways, then decide if the application of de-icer or salt is necessary to maintain traction.
2. Slow down. Drive for winter conditions and be courteous to slow-moving plows. The slower they drive, the more salt will stay on the road where it’s needed.
3. Use sparingly. More salt does not mean less ice. Use less than four pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet (an average parking space is about 150 square feet). One pound of salt is approximately a heaping 12-ounce coffee mug. Also, be patient; salt takes time to work. Applying more before allowing time to take affect will lead to unnecessary contamination.
4. Sweep it up. If extra salt or sand is visible on dry pavement, it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away. The excess can be swept up and reused for the next snow or disposed of in the trash.
5. Wait for warm weather. Most salts stop working efficiently when the temperature is below 15 degrees. You can use sand instead for traction in these frigid conditions.
Visit CRWC.org for more info.