During the cold winter months, salt applied to streets and sidewalks is carried into storm drains that flow directly into our lakes and rivers. Too much salt can harm plants and animals, contaminate our drinking water and corrode vehicles, roads and bridges.
As winter sets in and you pull out your snow shovels and ice scrapers, take the following steps to protect water quality this winter.
- Apply a liquid de-icer before snow storms to prevent buildup of snow and ice. This makes shoveling more effective.
- When applying salt, less is better. If there are visible leftover crystals, the salt has been over-applied.
- Shovel, snow blow, plow and/or sweep – thes are effective ways to remove snow and minimize ice buildup.
- Pay attention to the temperature. At low temperatures, salt becomes less effective. Check product labels, and consider using sand when the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
For information about additional lawn care practices that project water quality, see the resources provided by the West Metro Watershed Alliance.