Snow, Salt, and Pollution 05 Dec 13

Winters in Minnesota bring ice and snow, and the application of de-icing materials to keep our pavement safe. But the chloride in road salt enters our surface waters and groundwater after snow melts. Once in the water, salt becomes a pollutant and can be toxic to fish, insects and plants.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, one of the best ways to reduce salt use while keeping pavement surfaces safe is to shovel snow before it becomes packed down and hardened.

The more snow and ice is removed manually, the less salt will be needed, and the more effective it can be.

Once the pavement is dry, the agency recommends sweeping up any remaining salt to keep it from polluting nearby waterways. 

To learn more about using de-icing salt, visit the M-P-C-A website at