While safety is the top concern, overapplying salt does not melt ice more or faster on sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. De-icing salts can damage property and pollute water. Follow these snow & ice management tips to reduce your impact:
- Shovel Early and Often... so ice doesn’t have a chance to form. Use shovels, chisels, brooms, blowers, and scrapers before reaching for the chemicals.
- Select the Right Product: Salt (sodium chloride) only works when pavement temperature is above 15°. Switch to sand for traction or a different product rated for colder temperatures if necessary.
- Scatter Sparingly: Space salt granules 3 inches apart.
- Sweep Up & Reuse Excess: If it crunches under your feet when you walk, you’ve used too much. Sweep it up to use after the next storm.
- Store in a Dry Place: Store indoors, under cover, or in a leakproof container to prevent salt from dissolving into stormwater or the soil. Never store on lawns, soil, or planting beds.
- Give it Time: Don't get impatient and put more salt down before you've given it time to work.
- Fix Drainage Problems: Turn downspout elbows away from sidewalks/driveways, and take advantage of programs that help you manage stormwater in your yard.
- Hire Smart Salt Certified Applicators: Find training opportunities and a list of certified applicators at www.pca.state.mn.us/business-with-us/smart-salting-training.
Melting snow and ice carries salt into stormdrains that empty into neighborhood lakes and ponds. Once the salt is dissolved in water, there is no practical way to remove it. Anything you can do to reduce salt use helps.