Dangers of Road Salt Usage
For most people, the winter months mean icy snowy weather and using a hefty amount of road salt. But scientists at the U.S. Geological survey say that the amount of road salt we’re using is contributing to toxic amounts of chloride found in rivers and streams in the Midwest.
The level of toxicity now means that road salt is becoming harmful to aquatic life, which may be because of the increasing number of businesses that have parking lots and other paved areas that need to be treated.
How can you help to reduce this impact on our environment?
Some suggest that you use salt with liquid added (a brine) so that it stays put instead of washing off into local streams. Others say to use less salt.
Avoid using products that contain Sodium Chloride (common road salt), Potassium chloride or potash (may damage vegetation) and generally any other product with the word ‘chloride’ in it.
Certain areas in Wisconsin have begun using cheese brine, a by product of making mozzarella and provolone. It has a lower freezing point than road salt and reduces waste costs for the local cheese company.
Here are a few ways to reduce the impact in your environment.
- Kitty Litter
- Alfalfa Meal
- Sugar Beet Juice
- Sand or Coffee Grounds
- Organic, Salt-free De-icer
- Clear your driveway and sidewalks of snow immediately so it doesn’t have time to ice up.
- Choose a liquid based product (brine)
- Use less de-icing product