With the arrival of winter Tuesday morning many Minnesotans were out trying to clear the snow and ice off of their driveways and sidewalks. After the snow was removed many spread salt to help melt the ice. While salt can be effective in helping melt the ice it can also be very harmful to the environment. Eventually all that salt ends up in nearby bodies of water. I received a News Release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with some useful tips on "Smart Salting."
The first is to remove as much snow and ice as possible before you salt. That means you will need to use less salt. Watch the temperature. It the temperature is below 15 degrees most salt stops working. So, use sand or grit instead. When salting use 4 pounds of salt per 1000 square foot. A 12 ounce coffee mug holds about one pound of salt. It may be easier to apply the right amount of salt if you purchase a hand held spreader. If you see salt on dry pavement sweep it up and reapply it when needed.
People need some salt in their diet to live. But, too much salt is a poison that will kill you. Likewise we need to use salt to make highways and sidewalks safe. Using too much salt is harmful to the environment too!