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Salt Pollutes! Shovel before applying chemicals

Our lives are busy all the time, and when it snows overnight we do not always have extra time to do a perfect job of shoveling. We scrape off the snow as best we can then throw a few handfuls of salt on sidewalk and driveway and get on with our day. This may seem harmless, but that salt ends up in our local rivers, lakes, and streams. So this winter it is important to remember if you plan to use ice-melt products, use them sparingly and choose the products that best fit the conditions and temperatures outside.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Remove as much snow as possible with a shovel or snow blower.

  • Choose the correct products. Different projects work at different temperatures.

  • Use sand, not rock salt, for traction. It’s a better choice for the environment.

  • Less than 4 cups of a product will cover your average two-car driveway and sidewalk.

All de-icers, including rock salt, are harmful to our environment. When snow melts, it travels to our lakes and rivers through storm drains. Just one teaspoon of salt can pollute five gallons of water. The salt never disappears or breaks down, and once it is in the water, it is expensive to get it out. The best way to reduce the amount of salt in our lakes and rivers is to stop it from getting there in the first place. Some de-icers also contain chloride, which interferes with the immune and reproductive systems or fish and can cause serious and deadly dehydration in many mammals that live around lakes, streams and rivers. So this winter, keep the environment in mind before throwing that extra handful of salt on your sidewalk.

Photo Source: MN Pollution Control Agency

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