When snow and ice melt, the salt we spread on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks flows with it into storm drains and eventually to our lakes, wetlands, and streams, like Bassett Creek. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, an estimated 365,000 tons of road salt is applied each year in just the Twin Cities metro area. Knowing when and how to salt your property can help reduce pollution in our local waterways.
Shoveling early and often during snow storms limits the chances of the snow on the ground turning to ice. Once the storm has passed and you’ve finished shoveling, you can assess how much salt you really need to use, if any.
Know When To Salt
Most salt doesn’t work below 15 degrees. Sand is an alternative when temperatures are too cold. To prevent degradation, store salt away from air, light, and moisture.
Know How Much To Use
If you think you're using too much salt, you probably are. A 12-ounce coffee cup of salt is enough to cover 10 sidewalk squares or a 20-foot driveway. Experts say there should be 2–3 inches between each grain of salt.
Sweep Up Leftover Salt
If there is no ice left on your driveway, sweep up the remaining salt for future use and to keep it from flowing into storm drains.