Category Archives: Winter Maintenance


Low Salt Diet Recommended for Sidewalks



For years, doctors have told people to stick to a low-salt diet. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), our waters should follow the same advice.  When snow and ice start to accumulate on Minnesota roads, parking lots and sidewalks, one of the most common reactions is to apply salt, which contains chloride, a water pollutant. When snow and ice melt, most of the salt goes with it, washing into our lakes, streams and rivers. Once in the water, there’s no way to remove the chloride, and it becomes a permanent pollutants.

There are many ways to reduce salt use while maintaining high safety standards:

  • unnamed-1More salt does not mean more melting.Use less than four pounds of salt per 1,000 square feet (an average parking space is about 150 square feet). One pound of salt is approximately a
    heaping 12-ounce coffee mug.
  • Shovel.The more snow and ice you remove manually, the less salt you will have to use and the more effective it can be. Break up ice with an ice scraper and decide whether application of a de-icer or sand is even necessary to maintain traction.
  • 15 degrees is too cold for most salt to work.Most salts stop working around this temperature. Instead, use sand for traction.
  • Sweep up extra salt.If salt or sand is visible on dry pavement, it is no longer doing any work and will be washed away.

Finally, consider changing the direction of your drain spouts so melting water doesn’t run onto walkways and driveways where ice can form.


Alternatives to Salt Use for Icy Sidewalks and Driveways

Let it snow

English: Snowman on frozen Lake Saimaa, Puumal...

The season’s first significant snow storm is predicted.  As a reminder here some tips for homeowners about using salt and deicers.

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Residential Salt Use Workshop

A free discussion about how salt affects our waters, what homeowners can do to reduce their impact and what cities and contractors can and are doing to help.

When: Thurs Nov 15 2012 7:00-8:00pm
Where: St Marys Greek Orth. Church  3450 Irving Avenue S  Minneapolis
For: All Interested Citizens

Sponsored by Minnehaha Creek Watershed, the Freshwater Society and East Calhoun Community Organization.


Winter Maintenance for Homeowners – Part 2

View this 2011 video by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) designed to help homeowners minimize their impact on the the environment and health of our waters as they manage snow and ice on  properties.

Improved winter Maintenance: Good Choices for Clean Water

Winter Maintenance for Homeowners

While this winter has not yet been typical for snow and ice, we have had a couple of occasions for applying deicer to walks and driveways. All deicers have environmental impacts — it takes just 1 tsp. of salt to pollute five gallons of water.

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