Smart Salting for Clean Water

Hold the salt

Chloride pollution is a growing problem for Midwestern lakes and streams, particularly in urban watersheds. The salt applied to icy roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways is quickly carried through storm drains to local water bodies, where it can build up to toxic levels that harm fish and aquatic plants.

It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water!

Here’s what you can do to reduce salt use at home:

  • Shovel first. Clear walkways before snow turns to ice, and before you apply salt. The more snow you clear by hand, the less salt you’ll need.
  • Check the temp. Salt doesn’t melt ice if the pavement is below 15 degrees, so use cherry grit or sand for traction when it’s too cold, or choose a different de-icer.
  • Sprinkle sparingly. Use salt only where it’s critical. When you apply salt to pavement leave 3 inches between granules. This spacing will melt ice just as effectively as more closely spaced salt.  A 12-ounce coffee cup of salt is enough to cover 10 sidewalk squares or a 20-foot driveway.
  • Sweep up the excess. Clean up leftover salt, grit and sand to save and reuse as needed.