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Road Salt Use Harmful to Waterways and Aquatic life


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.road salt use is harmful to waterways and aquatic life

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.

  1. Kitty Litter
  2. Alfalfa Meal
  3. Sugar Beet Juice
  4. Sand or Coffee Grounds
  5. Organic, Salt-free De-icer
  6. Clear your driveway and sidewalks of snow immediately so it doesn’t have time to ice up.
  7. Choose a liquid based product (brine)
  8. Use less de-icing product


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Linda Gilbert
Linda Gilbert
8 years ago

Here is a possible alternative for keeping sidewalks clear and it won’t “eat” your concrete…we use agricultural urea…it really works, especially if you keep on top of that ice as Amy suggested. Thanks Amy. good tips as we are starting to think about winter here North of the Border.

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
8 years ago

Sadly our cities and counties use a lot of road salt here in Minnesota. I wish they didn’t!! One year when the ice was so bad, they used so much salt on our street that it killed the grass and all the plants in my bed under my mailbox. I’m so happy that people are starting to look for alternatives.

Ruth Day
Ruth Day
7 years ago

My Husband works for the Local road and bridge department. He would love it if they started using other resources to keep our roads safe. He talks about what salt and other products have done to our vehicles, the trees and land. Its sad to see the results in our area after our winters.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
6 years ago

SOOOOOO happy I don’t live in an area where it snows! (Though summers in the valley do suck…)

Samantha Yule
Samantha Yule
5 years ago

Glad they are trying to use new alternatives! It’s so corrosive, I live in Minnesota too, so we use a lot on our roadways.