Winter Salting

Think before you salt

A low-salt diet is considered healthy for humans. According to MN Pollution Control Agency, lakes and rivers could also benefit. Roads, parking lots and sidewalks are salted for safety, but when snow and ice melt, most of this salt pollutes lakes and rivers. Once salt is in our waters, there’s no way to remove it and it harms fish and plant life. Practice salt reduction on your home drive and sidewalks by doing the following:

* Shovel. The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be. Break up ice with an ice scraper and decide whether application of a de-icer or sand is even necessary to maintain traction.

* More salt does not mean more melting. 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.

* 15 degrees is too cold for most salt to work. Most salts stop working around this temperature. Instead, use sand for traction.

* Sweep up extra salt. If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement, it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away.

To learn more about reducing salt levels in lakes and rivers, visit Minnesota Pollution Control Agency salt webpage at