Hold the Salt

Hold the Salt

During the winter months, salt from our driveways and walkways is polluting our rivers and lakes and the chloride levels are increasing. While the Village of Glencoe is reducing the use of rock salt (sodium chloride) on streets and does not generally salt sidewalks, private walkway and driveway salt use is increasing.

Once salt gets into water it is difficult and expensive to remove and it only takes one teaspoon of salt to contaminate 5 gallons of water. Sodium chloride rock salts poison aquatic life, disrupt the ecosystem and reduce diversity. Rock salt corrodes roads, bridges and our cars and kills vegetation.

Furthermore, it is bad for our pets. Chloride burns, dries and cracks our pets’ feet. It also causes illness to pets when licked off and ingested. Humans are impacted too. While chloride is not toxic to humans at low levels it does pose taste and odor issues. At high levels it is toxic and must be removed from the water supply.

Road salt helps keep us safe on the roads, driveways and walkways, but more salt does not equate to more safety.

Be salt smart and protect our health, environment and pocketbook by following these tips:

  • Use as little salt as possible and only where it is really needed – a little goes a long way. If you see salt on a surface, it probably was overdone. A 12 oz. coffee mug holds enough salt for a 500 sq. ft. driveway (about three car lengths).
  • Always shovel first, then use a scraper to remove packed snow.
  • Only use salt on ice, not snow.
  • Don’t use sodium chloride when it is colder than 15 degrees – it won’t work. Use sand, magnesium chloride or calcium chloride instead.
  • When driving stay away from salt trucks and slow down.
  • Be assured that the Village of Glencoe is using the best management practices to reduce the use of salt for roads while maintaining a high level of safety.

Submitted by Sustainability Task Force Member Dudley Onderdonk

Source: Minnesota Water Salt Smart Collaborative